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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 26 January, 2020

The next crop of New Zealand rugby stars look ominously good

The Baby Blacks ran in nine tries against Scotland at the World Rugby U20 Championship yesterday.

IRELAND STARTED THEIR World Rugby U20 Championship campaign with a dramatic win over Argentina yesterday, but Pool C rivals New Zealand made far easier work of their opening game.

Tevita Li scores a try Tevita Li was a star of last season's JWC too. Source: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

After conceding the first try of the game, the Baby Black proceeded to run in nine unanswered tries of their own as they demonstrated the full range of their attacking talent in a 68-10 win over Scotland.

The Scots, who beat Ireland on the final day of this year’s U20 Six Nations, simply had no answer for the Kiwis’ dynamism and skill, although a handful of their players did put in strong performances.

Among the most renowned individuals in this New Zealand squad is back row Akira Ioane, who has already played nine times in Super Rugby for the Blues and has starred for his country on the sevens circuit.

Ioane was among the try scorers against Scotland yesterday, as well as coming up with some big carries like the one below.


Wing Tevita Li is back from last year’s U20 squad, having scored no less than seven tries in the 2014 version of this tournament. The Blues flyer, who has already scored three times in Super Rugby, was also among the try scorers against the Scots.


TJ Faiane, Mitchell Karpik and gigantic prop and captain Atunaisa Moli are among the other players to watch out for in this group, but there are many others who have the potential to move into professional senior rugby in the future.

Check out the full highlights package from the Baby Blacks’ win below:

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

Meanwhile, defending champions England began their drive to claim another title with a resounding nine-try win 59-7 win against Japan in Pool A.

Scrum-half Stu Townsend and fullback Aaron Morris both bagged two tries apiece as the Japanese side failed to provide any real resistance.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

The other clash in Pool A saw France record a 19-10 victory over Six Nations rivals Wales, with Toulouse pair Arthur Bonneval and Thomas Ramos – both of whom are capped at Top 14 level – scoring tries.

The third French score was a wonderful counter-attacking effort from deep in their own 22, Bordeaux wing Lucas Blanc the man to finish it off.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

South Africa moved to the top of Pool B with their 33-5 win over Italy in San Michele, as they scored five tries to the Italians’ one.

The powerful Bulls pair of number eight Hanro Liebenberg and hooker Jan van der Merwe were both on the scoresheet as the Baby Boks began with a solid win.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

The South Africans will face stiff competition from Australia in the fight to top Pool B, after the Aussies opened their account with a five-try 34-22 success over Samoa.

Captain and wing Andrew Kellaway became the top try-scorer in the competition’s history as he made it number 11 against the Samoans, having scored 10 in last year’s Junior World Championship.

There was also a brace for Melbourne Rebels fullback Jonah Placid, who made his first Super Rugby start back in March, scoring a try against the Lions.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

Saturday’s World U20 Championship fixtures:

Ireland v Scotland, Pool C, KO 15.30 (TG4)

France v Japan, Pool A, KO 15.30

New Zealand v Argentina, Pool C, KO 17.30

South Africa v Samoa, Pool B, KO 17.30

England v Wales, Pool A, KO 19.30 (S4C and BT Sport 2)

Australia v Italy, Pool B, KO 19.30

Subject to geo-blocking, World Rugby U20 Championship games are streamed at

Here’s the highlights of Ireland’s last-gasp win in the World U20 Championship

4 players who stood out during the Ireland U20s’ win over Argentina

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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