Photo: Leo Galletto/World Rugby
The Baby Blacks have been beaten 25-17 by South Africa in their latest Under-20's World Championship match at the Racecourse Stadium in Rosario, Argentina this morning. The result means they will now miss the semi-finals and a chance to win back the title claimed last year by France.
They fell agonisingly short, needing only a bonus point to qualify for the semis, however they were denied by a 78th minute penalty that pushed the score out to its eventual eight point margin.
The South Africans led from start to finish, scoring two tries in the first 20 minutes. They then sealed the result with accurate goal kicking in the second half, with a monster effort from their forward pack stifling the Baby Blacks of possession.
Fulllback Vaughen Isaacs opened the scoring with a slick try after eight minutes that came off an NZ turnover, then big lock JJ van Mescht scored a brilliant 50 metre solo effort to put the Boks up 13-0.
From there, the Baby Blacks were playing catch up, with their only points of the first half coming from the boot of first five Fergus Burke, who kicked a penalty to make the score 19-3 at the break.
The Baby Blacks got themselves back into the game after halftime, forcing a charge down that resulted in a penalty try. However, the Boks successfully absorbed the pressure and edged ahead with a penalty goal to Sanele Nohamba.
A late try to Lalomilo Lalomilo wasn’t enough to help the Baby Blacks take the game, but it put them within the seven-point margin for a crucial bonus point. However, a penalty shortly after the restart gave Nohamba a chance to kill off the NZ campaign, and he sent the ball through the uprights to make the final score 25-17.
In reality, the scoreline flattered the Baby Blacks a great deal. They were their own worst enemies at times, with sloppy mistakes and some shoddy defence that let in the two early tries.
In this morning’s other game, England ran out 56-33 winners over Australia. The Baby Blacks will now play off for fifth to eighth in their remaining games.
South Africa 25 (V Isaacs, J van Mescht tries; J Hendrikse 3, S Nohamba 2 pen)
New Zealand 17 (L Lalomilo try, penalty try; F Burke 2 con, pen)