Junior World Championship: England shock New Zealand to reach final
Last Updated: 19/06/13 6:57am
Matt Hankin scores against New Zealand (Photo: Michel Renac)
England are through to the final of the IRB Junior World Championship after a stunning 33-21 victory over New Zealand.
England had never beaten the Baby Blacks in the competition, losing the 2011 final despite the squad featuring the likes of Christian Wade, Owen Farrell, Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury.
However Nick Walshe's charges set up an all-British final against Wales - who had earlier shocked defending champions South Africa - with an historic win.
Henry Slade landed 18 points from the boot, while Matt Hankin, Anthony Watson and Tom Smallbone scored tries.
England, though, had to survive a second-half onslaught before finally progressing.
Slade had kicked England into an early lead with a penalty however the New Zealanders hit back through a try from hooker Epalahame Falva.
Slade, though, landed a three-pointer just two minutes later to put the Six Nations champions back into a lead they would not lose.
A superb break from captain Jack Clifford set Hankin up for England's opening try on 16 minutes, with Slade adding a simple conversion.
And it was 20-3 when Watson made amends for an earlier howler - when he dropped the ball with no one around him - by snaffling an intercept and scamping away to score, with Slade on target with the extras.
There was some respite for New Zealand as Simon Hickey slotted over a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Unsurprisingly, the four-time champions came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half - with Joe Webber going close.
Slade and Jade Te Rure exchanged penalties before Highlanders centre Jason Emery went over in the corner following an extended spell of pressure.
Te Rure's conversion and penalty cut England's lead to just two points with just 10 minutes left.
However Smallbone burrowed his way over and Slade converted to put England clear before the Exeter No 10 slotted over a last-minute penalty.