Wales U20s enjoyed an unforgettable 80 minutes at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on Friday, recording a historic 9-6 win over New Zealand at the Junior World Championship.
The Baby Blacks have dominated the competition since its inception and were undefeated in the history of the tournament, winning 21 consecutive matches and claiming the silverware in each of the four previous competitions since the event replaced the U19 and U21 championships in 2008.
??The Welsh team, featuring six Ospreys in the starting line-up (Ross Jones, Eli Walker, Matthew Morgan, Tom Habberfield, Dan Baker and Rhodri Hughes, a late call-up in place of skipper Cory Hill who withdrew because of illness) and one more on the bench (Sam Davies) refused to be overawed and produced a heroic defensive effort in appalling conditions.
The Welsh scrum dominated while at halfback Tom Habberfield, making his first Wales U20 start, marshalled the troops superbly.
??New Zealand opened the scoring on a quagmire of a pitch in the 9th minute through Scott Eade. The outside half had another opportunity to increase the lead but he pushed his next shot wide.
Matthew Morgan missed his first two shots at goal as Wales took the game to their opponents but it was third time lucky for the Ospreys fly half when he levelled the scores in the 22nd minute with a well taken penalty.??
Eade pushed another penalty wide but made amends when Luke Hamilton was caught off-side just before the break to put New Zealand 6-3 ahead at the break.
??Dragons-bound Ospreys product Tom Prydie took over the kicking duties for Wales in the second half and he leveled things in the 50th minute.
Prydie then edged Wales back in front with another excellent effort and it was all hands to the pump as New Zealand went for the jugular but they found the Welsh defence impregnable.??
The group now know if they back this performance up with a victory over Samoa, they will be in the semi-finals of Junior World Championship.??
Wales Under 20 head coach Danny Wilson said:
"Huge credit to the boys, they showed massive heart out there today and thoroughly deserved the win. They played the conditions well and really stuck to the game plan. We played well without the ball and gave ourselves good field position. The scrum was excellent and the front row did a wonderful job. But I thought the back row were equally effective too. In fact, the whole pack stood up to the task and did a magnificent job, from start to finish.??
"The weather certainly made a big difference to us but you have to play the conditions too. Now we have to move on from this game and look at the next one, against Samoa. It's vital that we keep our eye on the ball and make it three wins from as many games in order to confirm a place i