New Zealand defeat Scotland to qualify for #JWC2014 semi-finals
The third and final day of the pool matches was highlighted by Wales 13-3 win over France, which opened the door for the home team to ensure they would continue their age-grade record – never failing to reach the semi-finals in IRB Junior World Championships.
Ireland confirmed their place in the top four, facing England in one semi, while New Zealand will play South Africa.
The boys in black would not have reached the final four if France had beaten Wales.
The Scottish initially played direct which looked to unsettle the home outfit, but the team in black knew what had to be achieved, and early possession was in favour of four-time champions.
They played with more structure and patience than they had against South Africa.
The home team would remain in Scotland’s territory as the first half progressed, but a series of attacking lineouts and scrums would see New Zealand continue to be denied.
A close try was disallowed, but that counted for little as Tom Sanders would crash over in the 11th minute to start the try scoring.
Josh Renton would score the second for the tournament hosts with the Scottish lineout malfunctioning – indeed New Zealand would have the better of the game here.
Yet Scotland’s scrum would have the edge more often than not.
The home team would continue to run the ball out, despite the heavy conditions, although the junior thistles would have their own periods on attack.
With five minutes to go Mitchell Jacobson would score off the ruck, driving over the line with some great form to give NZ their third five-pointer.
The 21-0 ledger would be the halftime score, one where Scotland statistically held their own but were unable to strike like New Zealand.
Scotland would have good possession again, even as the hosts made early changes with Damian McKenzie replacing Simon Hickey one minute into the second half.
The home side’s Under 20s would be under pressure up front, but when the ball went wide they would profit.
Scotland hold their opponents out more than once, but the hosts had a series of scrums to put pressure on the line.
Josh Renton would score NZ a crucial bonus point with the team’s fourth, while the form of the backline would continue with Mo’unga kicking brilliantly to made it a 28-0 game.
McKenzie would cut loose, running a devastating line and that put more distance on the score line, as the New Zealand team began to find more metres as they made valuable inroads up the middle of the field.
Entering the fourth and final quarter it was 35-0, before TJ Faiane, Vince Tavae Aso and Leon Fukofuka added the exclamation marks.
The result would ensure that New Zealand would pip Australia as the fourth ranked IRB Junior World Championship team.
South Africa will now play their great rivals for the second time this tournament in the semi-finals.