France and England will face off in Sunday’s World Rugby U20 Championship final after both pulled off superb victories in their respective semi-finals on Tuesday.
France – who pipped England to the Under-20s Six Nations Championship earlier this year – claimed a first-ever win over New Zealand at this age group in Perpignan.
And England – who beat France in this year’s Under-20s Championship but lost the title on points difference – made it six finals in a row by holding off South Africa to set up Le Crunch in Beziers on Sunday.
Romain Ntamack scored the decisive try as France downed New Zealand for the first time.
They had to do it the hard way however, as they only led the Baby Blacks 3-0 at half time thanks to Louis Carbonel’s penalty.
But after the break Ntamack went over to make it 10-0 as Les Bleuets’ forward pack continued to exert some real dominance.
Carbonel and Ntamack added another penalty each before the Baby Blacks – the defending champions – eventually came to the party.
Harry Plummer went over for them and added the extras but it was too little too late and the Stade Aime Giral in Perpignan erupted at the final whistle.
RED ROSE HOLDS ON
While England’s senior team threw away an early lead in South Africa on Saturday, their Under-20s counterparts just about held on to make it six finals in a row.
Tom Parton, Ben White and Jordan Olowofela all went over in the first half to open a 22-7 lead.
Tom Hardwick’s score and the boot of Marcus Smith kept the Baby Boks at bay and England – despite being outscored overall five tries to four – made it to another final and will be going for a fourth final.
BEST OF THE REST
Scotland beat Ireland in an all-NatWest 6 Nations clash in the 9-12th play-offs to secure a measure of revenge.
Ireland had beaten them earlier this year in the Championship but this time Kyle Rowe bagged a double and Scotland emerged 45-29 victors.
Ireland meanwhile face a relegation play-off against Japan.
Elsewhere, Wales slipped to a 39-15 loss to Argentina despite Ryan Conbeer’s superb score and Giovanni D’Onofrio crossed for a hat-trick but Italy slipped to 15-44 defeat in the 5-8th play-off games.