The Baby Blacks were brave but ultimately outclassed as they lost to France 16-7 in the semi-final of the under 20s Rugby World Cup in Perpignan, France.
After a nervy start from both sides, the French began to dominate possession with French No.8 Jordan Joseph and tighthead prop Demba Bamba proving to be constant threats as ball runners.
French first five-eighth Louis Carbonel finally turned the dominance into some points with a penalty on 30 minutes.
The home side did miss a golden chance to extend their lead with virtually the last play of the first half when winger Matthis Lebel could not reel in a lovely cross-field kick from Carbonel.
France finally made the pressure count early in the second half with second five-eighth Romain Ntamack crossing for a try after 42 minutes.
As the second half developed, France began to exert their dominance at scrum time, with Carbonel kicking another penalty after 49 minutes
He added another after 63 minutes to give France a 16-0 lead.
The Baby Blacks, who had defended manfully for most of the match, finally came to life with just over 10 minutes left.
First five-eighth Harry Plummer scored after a nice passage before converting his own try to give New Zealand a sniff of victory.
Buoyed by their first try, the Baby Blacks launched a superb break that almost went the full length of the field, but a knock on from reserve hooker Ricky Jackson off the next phase cost New Zealand a second try in quick succession.
The mistake proved costly with New Zealand unable to add any further points despite repeatedly throwing caution to the wind.
New Zealand will now face off against South Africa for bronze while France will play England after winning through to the final for the first time at this tournament.
"The Government has to balance pay demands across the public sector. We have gone as far as we can in terms of extra Government money," Dr Clark said this afternoon.