TODAY |

Baby Blacks miss last-gasp penalty against Wales, on track for worst U20 finish

The Baby Blacks have been stunned by Wales at the U20 Rugby World Cup in Argentina, falling 8-7 in Rosario in their attempt to make the fifth placed playoff.

It means New Zealand will register their worst finish in the tournament. 

Playing during a thunder storm in Rosario, Wales took the lead in the first half, with Baby Blacks’ centre Dallas McLeod fumbling the ball.

Wales opposite Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler kicked the ball through after McLeod’s mistake, beating Baby Blacks’ flanker Kaylum Boshier to score the opening try.

First-five Cai Evans missing his attempt at goal to give Wales a 5-0 lead, the score unchanged before an unexpected delay.

Play was suspended with over 10 minutes to play in the first half, with the heavens opening and threat of a thunder storm causing concern for the players’ and spectators’ safety.

When play resumed, Evans would miss a penalty to end the first half with Wales leading 5-0.

New Zealand started as the stronger of the two sides in the second spell, until substitute lock Samipeni Finau was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on fullback Ioan Davies. Wales were unable to capitalise on their advantage, with Evans again missing his effort with the boot.

The Baby Blacks managed to find the tryline with just over 10 minutes to fulltime, lock Tupou Vaa’I forcing over after a lineout drive from close range. Kiwi first-five Fergus Burke added the conversion to put New Zealand ahead 7-5 heading into the final moments.

Another penalty for Wales gave Evans a chance to take the lead with New Zealand judged to have closed the gap at the lineout.

Evans held his nerve to give Wales the lead 8-7 with just two minutes to play – his first successful kick of the match.

Wales gave up one last penalty for not releasing, giving Blake the chance to win the match for the Baby Blacks in added time.

However, the first-five’s attempt was wayward, with Wales celebrating just their second ever victory over New Zealand at Under 20 level.

The result leaves New Zealand playing off for seventh place, while Wales will face the winner of England and Ireland on June 23 NZT.