Baby Blacks unstoppable as they rout England to be crowned U-20 world champs
An unstoppable Baby Blacks side has crushed England 64-17 in a record-breaking final of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Tbilisi.
Powerful hooker Asafo Aumua led the way with a hat-trick of tries as New Zealand crossed the line 10 times in the rout, which was the most scored by any team in an under-20 final.
The game was effectively over at halftime as New Zealand raced out to an early 40-7 lead, with Dalton Papali'i and Pouri Rakete-Stones kicking things off by scoring inside the opening 10 minute against an England team captained by Zach Mercer, son of former Kiwis rugby league international Gary Mercer.
The Baby Blacks continued to dominate with their strong ball runners running riot through the English defence, eventually chalking up the biggest scoreline for a final in the competition's 10-year history.
Captain Luke Jacobson, who iced the victory with his second try of the game right before fulltime, was able to match the achievement of his older brother Mitchell from two years ago by winning the tournament.
"It feels amazing, it's been our goal for a long time - you feel it inside," Jacobson said at fulltime.
"We've had a discussion in the team about keeping the chat up and staying really positive. That's what we did today, we were talking left and right and everybody was staying on the same page.
"We just kept working really hard and played some good finals footy.
"England are a great side, I think that we just got a little bit on top of them today. We just got the bounce of the ball, I'm sure that on any other day it may be a much closer score."
The Baby Blacks didn't suffer from the loss of first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon, who was ruled out of the final due to concussion, with Blues playmaker Stephen Perofeta stepping in after being rushed into the squad during the week.
Perofeta kicked seven conversions and made one spectacular break in the first half, but the game really belonged to the devastating forward pack, who ran in nine of New Zealand's 10 tries.
Disappointed England captain Zach Mercer praised New Zealand for their dominant performance.
"New Zealand is a world-class outfit and they are built to score tries but so are we. We kind of switched off in first 10 minutes. You make one mistake and New Zealand will capitalise on that, that's what they did and that's what makes them a world-class opposition," he said.
"I've never witnessed a team like that, but for some boys it might be the last opportunity to put the jersey on so as I said we want to keep our heads held high."
It was the sixth time New Zealand have won the tournament.
AT A GLANCE
New Zealand Under-20 64 (Dalton Papali'i, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Asafo Aumua 3, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Luke Jacobson 2, Josh McKay, Tom Christie tries; Stephen Perofeta 7 con) England Under-20 17 (Ben Earl, Alex Mitchell, Josh Bayliss tries; Max Malins con). HT: 40-7