7 Jun 2015

Baby Blacks scrape past Argentina

10:15 am on 7 June 2015

The New Zealand under 20 rugby team remain unbeaten at the World Championship in Italy, but only after escaping with a slender victory over Argentina in their second match.

New Zealand and Argentina face off on day two of the World Rugby U20 Championship 2015 in Italy.

New Zealand and Argentina face off on day two of the World Rugby U20 Championship 2015 in Italy. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 32-29 victory over a hugely passionate and committed Los Pumitas means the Baby Blacks face a Pool C winner-takes-all showdown with Ireland on Thursday morning (NZ time).

New Zealand needed a late penalty from Hurricanes first-five Otere Black to secure victory and keep alive hopes of topping their group, and qualifying for the semi-finals.

It's New Zealand's second win after they beat Scotland 68-10.

New Zealand struggled to contain Argentina's forwards and the South Americans scored tries from two rolling mauls in the final 10 minutes to level the score, before Black's penalty with two minutes remaining helped seal the win.

The Baby Blacks led 15-12 at halftime.

Fullback Luteru Laulala scored the first try after a sweeping 70m backline move that went through seven sets of hands.

Wing Sean Wainui scored the second following a break in the midfield.

However Argentina levelled the ledger at 15-15 with 20 minutes to go.

In the helter skelter final period New Zealand took a 14-point lead after converted tries to substitutes Hohepa Tahuriorangi and Akira Ioane in the space of two minutes.

The Blues loose forward Ioane took the the ball inside his own half before charging 70m to score a brilliant individual try.

However Argentina fought back with flanker Benito Paolucci scoring two tries in the final 10 minutes from mauls.

The score was tied at 29-all with five minutes remaining but New Zealand were given a penalty and Black cooly took the chance to seal victory.

New Zealand and Ireland play on Thursday morning (NZ time) to decide the pool winner and semifinal qualification.

The loser of that match will have to rely on being the best second-placed team of the three groups, in order to make the final four.

England, who beat neighbours Wales 30-16, are on top of Pool A after the second day of action in Italy, while South Africa lead Pool B after out-muscling Samoa 40-8 in Parma.

Ireland won't be content with their performance despite beating Scotland 24-20, while France scored seven tries to claim victory over Japan, 47-7.

Australia survived an early scare to defeat hosts Italy, 31-15.

With teams forced to deal with the searing heat of the Italian summer in Calvisano and Parma, water-breaks were necessary on day two of the tournament, as large crowds gathered in both venues.

The tragic death of former All Black Jerry Collins and his wife was marked at today's matches, with a moment of silence held before the start of both the New Zealand match in Calvisano and the Samoa match in Parma.

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