New Zealand confirmed their place in the IRB Junior World Championship 2010 semi finals after beating Wales 43-10 with a clinical display at the Estadio CA Colon in Santa Fe on Sunday to top Pool A.
The two-time defending champions ran in six tries to see off the challenge of Wales, picking up their eight bonus point victory in nine Junior World Championship pool matches and extending their unbeaten run to 13.
With captain Tyler Bleyendaal and scrum half Tawera Kerr-Barlow combining well together to cut open the Welsh defence, particularly in the second half, and the Baby Blacks' forwards creating a strong platform the backs to shine there only ever looked one winner.
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Bleyendaal had kicked the Baby Blacks into the lead with a second minute penalty and then gave Wales a timely reminder that any indiscretion around the halfway line was likely to be punished, the fly half putting a kick from his own 10 metre line slightly wide of the posts.
New Zealand's first try came in the eighth minute, lively scrum half Tawera Kerr-Barlow picking up from the breakdown and darting through a gap left by Welsh captain Josh Navidi to race clear, Bleyendaal kicking the conversion to keep the scoring at more than a point a minute.
Bleyendaal saw a penalty from the halfway line strike the uprights, but it wasn't long before the Baby Blacks increased their advantage, Kerr-Barlow's no look pass allowing wing Julian Savea to bounce off the Welsh defence to touch down in the corner.
Matthew Jarvis finally got Wales on the score board in the 19th minute with a penalty to make it 17-3, but despite some good defence keeping the Baby Blacks at bay it was another piece of class from Savea that kept the scoreboard ticking over.
The New Zealand Sevens star, who scored a record equalling four tries against Samoa in the last match, caught the ball on the left wing, cut across the pitch and slipping a tackle by Ashley Beck before darting through the gap to touch down his sixth try of the tournament.
Bleyendaal curled the conversion in again to push New Zealand through the 600-point barrier in Junior World Championship history, but the next score went to Wales when hooker Rhys Williams powered over the line for only the fourth try the Baby Blacks have conceded in nine pool matches.
Unfortunately for the Baby Blacks they lost Savea not long after
with the wing appearing to injury his hip, but having settled again
the bonus point was secured in the 36th minute when a long pass
from Kerr-Barlow cut out three Welsh defenders, allowing Telusa
Veainu to send Tom Marshall over in the corner.
It took a while, though, for New Zealand to increase their 31-10 half time advantage, a combination of the plucky Welsh defence and the Baby Blacks' decision to throw the ball wide more rather than the pick and goes that had worked so well in the first half.
Having gone close several times, the sin-binning of Welsh prop Will Taylor at the hour mark finally got the scoreboard ticking over again, Veainu - moved to the wing after Savea's exit - benefitted from a backflip pass from Kerr-Barlow to race clear.
Bleyendaal's vision was constantly finding gaps in the defence, both for himself and his teammates, and led to New Zealand's final try, catching James Loxton out of the line to give Marshall space to score his second of the game.
Replacement Hayden Parker was unlucky not to score a brilliant solo try, his chip ahead bouncing just over his head, to leave the Baby Blacks now forced to wait to see who their opponents in the semi finals on Thursday will be.
POST MATCH REACTION
New Zealand coach Dave Rennie: "I'm not sure what to think really, we're not sure who our opponent is going to be but we're certainly happy to get through the pool play and get into the business end of the competition. We played some good footy at times and turned that pressure into points but you know pretty disappointed with our second half effort and while we may have won well on the scoreboard, we will certainly need to lift in the semi final.
"Julian Savea, he's a bit dodgy he's got a bit of a knock to his hip so you know it's touch and go whether he's available next game. He's an amazing athlete Julian and he's pretty hungry to get the ball in his hands… obviously we're pretty keen to get him back out there."
New Zealand captain Tyler Bleyendaal: "Our
performance today was a lot better than the ones we put out the
past two games but there's still a lot to improve on if we want
to progress even further so, next game now we get to go to Rosario
which will be a good experience and we're just excited for it.
"Wales were good, they were big, they were physical, they had a bit of structure there as well and we had to plan our attacks around that. They had great line speed and they put us under a lot of pressure and it was a good hit out which is just what we needed."
Wales coach Phil Davies: "Just a little disappointed and a deflated to be honest. The players, you know, they worked hard as they always do to be fair but in the first half we just weren't very accurate under pressure, we said that to the players building up. They tried ever so hard to be fair, you know when we put some phases together, when we scored the try it was pretty positive, when we kept the ball for periods of play, again pretty positive but ultimately we just weren't good enough.
"New Zealand were, and everyone says they are, clinical and
they are. They took their opportunities and and they scored far
more points than we did and that's the long and short of it
Wales captain Josh Navidi: "Feeling a bit tired and gutted that we threw it away, but New Zealand gave a good performance and they probably deserved it in the end to get the win. I think we just need to be more collective and calm and just keep hold of the ball and take the chances when we have the chances. I think the boys wore their hearts on their sleeves and I think a few of the boys are happy with their performance so I think we can move forward."