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Torrential rain stops NZ Under-20 match

Updated: 5 days ago

Torrential rain has disrupted games at the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in South Africa, including New Zealand's clash with Spain.

The 45-13 victory came in just 40 minutes of play with officials eventually deeming conditions at the waterlogged Danie Craven Stadium unsafe.


The match was called off at halftime, with New Zealand taking all five championship points.

Had the match been stopped before the interval, the teams would have shared two points. 

New Zealand captain Xavier Taele was a bit surprised afterwards.

“Far out that was terrible conditions. I’ve never seen rain like that. It was pretty tough. I’m proud the boys came through,” he said.

New Zealand launched into their work quickly with two tries in the opening 10 minutes. First-five Cooper Grant scored the first splashdown and then barrel-chested prop Andrew Smith proved unstoppable from close range. 

Weather disrupted matches at the World Rugby U20 World Cup including the All Blacks against Spain
The Baby Blacks scored a win over Spain at halftime after the match was called off. PHOTO: WORLD RUGBY

Spain, in their first tournament appearance, created history though, first-five Gonzalo Otamendi crossing the line for the first points by a Spanish player against New Zealand, slotting a 30m penalty. 

Mosese Bason, who was awarded the DJ Graham Medal as the best player in Super Rugby Under-20 in May, was bustling and crashed over for two tries. 

New Zealand mauled strongly and hooker A-One Lolofie profited from a lineout pushover. 

The Baby Blacks best try was scored by lock Tom Allen striding clear after fullback Issac Hutchinson and halfback Ben O’Donovan combined in a sweeping move that started at halfway. 

Spain’s solitary try was scored after New Zealand wing King Maxwell fumbled a kick and tigerish blindside Victor Ofojetu won the race to the spillage.

Bay of Plenty wing Frank Vaenuku had the last say when he cut sharply off his left foot and fended off two tacklers to score on his 19th birthday. 

New Zealand topped Pool A and gained the top seed for the semifinals with three wins and a maximum of 15 points.

In the semifinals the Baby Blacks face France, who secured the fourth seed after a 29-11 win over Wales.

The Baby Blacks beat France 27-26 on July 5. New Zealand’s Under-20 record is 55 wins in 69 matches.

Remarkably conditions were similar at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, where the match between Australia and Ireland was called off and declared a draw. That meant Ireland topped Pool B and Australia was denied a place in the semifinals.


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