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New Zealand Win U21 World Cup
6 June 2003, 4:15 am
New Zealand won the Under-21 rugby World Cup on Sunday, beating the Australians by 21 points to 10. The 'Baby Blacks' defensive play proving the difference at the Kassam stadium.
New Zealand won the Under-21 rugby World Cup on Sunday, beating the Australians by 21 points to 10. The 'Baby Blacks' defensive play proving the difference at the Kassam stadium.

Captain Sam Tuitupou, playing for the third time in this event, was delighted with the victory. "Our plan through the tournament was to take each game as it comes," he said. "After each game the boys grew another inch. Today we stuck to the plan. We knew it was our last game as a team and we pulled through. This is very special for us."

Australian captain Lachlan McKay was gracious in defeat. "In the end we let ourselves down. We made mistakes every time we got any momentum," he said. "You have to give the Kiwis credit, particularly for their defence and their driving maul. We couldn't have been better prepared and the tournament has been a fantastic experience."

The New Zealanders dominated throughout the match, with second-rower Ross Kennedy opening the scoring with a powerful solo try in the 12th minute. Two penalties to Stephen Donald gave NZ an 11-0 halftime lead after Australian halfback Josh Valentine was sent to the sin-bin for repeated infringements and, minutes after his return, five-eighth McKay followed him.

Australia pressured the Kiwi line early in the second- half but were unable to penetrate stout defence. An exchange of penalties between Donald and Australian fullback Mark Gerrard took the score to 14-3 but New Zealand winger Hayden Pedersen sealed the trophy with a 75th minute try.

Australia scored a consolation, but spectacular, try through Elia Tuqiri in the dying minutes, but it was all too late for the young Wallabies to avoid their third successive final loss. They went down to New Zealand in 2001 and South Africa last year

New Zealand 21 Australia 10

The Irish U21s scored a try in injury time at the Henley Hawks Rugby Club, Oxfordshire yesterday to snatch a 24-19 win over Italy and finish ninth in the World Cup tournament.

Ireland dominated from the kick-off but over half an hour had elapsed before they crossed the try line through centre David Telford. Fly half Michael Rainey, converted. Italy struck back when left wing Valerie Santillo crossed for a try. Andreo Marcato added the conversion points to bring his side level 7-7 at half time. Ireland pounced for their second try, 10 minutes after the restart.

After a line-out, Ulsterman Neil McComb started a drive which was ended with a try for Kieran Potts. Scrum-half Connor O'Loughlin touched down from a similar move, moments later and Rainey added the extra points. Then Italy began to fight back and full back Mirco Bergamasco quickly had his side's second try. Four minutes from the final whistle Ireland's David Gannon infringed at an Italian line-out in Ireland's 22.

Italy kicked to touch five metres from Ireland's left wing corner flag. From the resultant line out, Sergio Parisse dived over the line. Substitute scrum-half Andreo Brancoli landed the conversion to tie the scores. But Ireland dug deep. They won a line-out near halfway and started a move involving backs and forwards.Flanker Neil Ronan fed replacement wing Richard Lane who dived over for a try in the seventh minute of injury time.

IRELAND: 1 J Moran, 2 R Best (K Corrigan 13-19 min blood), 3 D Fitzpatrick (E McGovern half-time); 4 D Gannon, 5 N McComb; 6 J Muldoon (M McCornish 69 min), 7 N Ronan; 8 C Potts; 9 C McLoughlin (D Geraghty 75 min), 10 M Rainey (Capt); 11 J Hearty (R Lane half-time), 12 G Telford, 13 B Murphy, 14 K Matthews; 15 T Bowe. Replacements not used: S Crawford, D McAllister.

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