Baby Blacks 'disappointed' and 'gutted' after shock semi-final loss to France at World Cup

The Baby Blacks have summarised this morning's shock under 20s World Cup semi-final loss to France with two words - "gutted" and "disappointed".

The New Zealand U20s won't have a chance to defend last year's title after losing to France 16-7 in Perpignan this morning, thanks to a dominant performance from the French forward pack.

The Kiwi attacking flair struggled to get into the game until the 70th minute when Harry Plummer crossed the line, but mistakes continuously cost them in their attempts to meet England in the final.

Captain Tom Christie was proud of his team's determination to the final whistle but couldn't deny his emotions after the game.

"I'm immensely gutted at the result but I'm very far from disappointed with my lads. My lads played with a lot of heart and a lot of pride," he said.

"I think we were unlucky sometimes and, yes, some of our mistakes were sometimes from our (unforced) errors, but I can't fault my boys ... they played with immense pride out there.

"Rugby is a game you never want to lose. But it has got that competitive edge so there is always going to be a winner and a loser and sometimes you end up on the wrong side."

Head coach Craig Philpott said he was sure there wouldn't be any less motivation for the side in their bronze playoff with South Africa.

"I'm sure there won't be any lack of desire to want to finish the tournament really well."

The Baby Blacks play South Africa at 2:30am NZT on Monday in Beziers with the final taking place immediately afterwards.


'That singing post-operation must have done wonders!' SBW pinpoints vocal skills as key to rapid recovery

All Blacks midfielder Sonny Bill Williams says he feels blessed to return to training so quickly after his recent knee surgery, pinpointing his singing as the medicine behind his miraculous recovery.

Williams underwent keyhole surgery on his right knee two weeks ago after he aggravated an old injury during the All Blacks' final team camp before the three-Test series against France.

However, the 32-year-old was back out and running with teammates a mere 12 days after the operation.

The cross-code star is expected to available for NZ’s third Test against France in Dunedin. Source: 1 NEWS

"What a blessing to be back a little earlier than anticipated," he said on social media.

Williams went viral after the surgery thanks to a video he shared which saw him serenade hospital staff while still under the influence of medication.

He said the singing was his secret medicine to recovering so fast.

"That singing post operation must have done wonders on the knee... nah jokes too far," he said.

"Really enjoying my role helping my AB brothers prepare this week. Lessss Goooooooo!!"

Williams is not expected to participate in the series but will remain with the team to help the midfield.



Watch: 'None' – Black Caps legend Brendon McCullum jokes about poor rugby skills during club footy match

Black Caps legend Brendon McCullum traded his bat and pads for a pair of rugby boots over the weekend, running out for Waikato club rugby side United Matamata.

McCullum, 36, said he was swayed by a friend to play for Matamata's B team.

He admitted he enjoyed playing first-five for the club and that the players were quick to embrace him as part of the team.

"The boys have been great accepting me since day one and we’ve had a bit of fun and it was nice to get a win," said McCullum.

He said he wasn't too fussed about playing in the backs and letting the forwards get through all the grunt work.

"I was pretty happy to sit back and watch it all unfold."

When asked about whether he still possessed the rugby skills he had as a youngster the former Black Caps captain said, "none".

Matamata defeated Taupiri 29-18 on Saturday.

McCullum was an exceptional rugby player in his youth, picked ahead of All Blacks great Dan Carter as the preferred first-five in the South Island secondary schools team in 2000. 

He was the first New Zealander to score 300 runs in a Test, reaching the feat against India at the Basin Reserve in Wellington in 2014.

He also skippered New Zealand to the 2015 Cricket World Cup final where his side lost to Australia by seven wickets after an incredible campaign.