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Saturday, June 09, 2012
Incoming Munster coach Rob Penney was left with an unwanted distinction yesterday after he oversaw New Zealand’s first ever Junior World Championship defeat.
The Baby Blacks’ bid to record a fifth consecutive U20 tournament victory suffered a big blow when they were outgunned 9-6 by Wales at a mud-drenched Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, where Ireland subsequently took on England.
New Zealand had never lost a game at this competition since it began in 2008, and Penney, who will take over from Tony McGahan in the Munster hot seat following the conclusion of the tournament, was aghast at the result. "It’s really disappointing; the effort and energy was there but the accuracy wasn’t," he said. "The ground conditions were poor, similar to what would be deemed back home as a really poor club ground, so it made playing the game impossible. It was just a lottery in the end."
The defeat isn’t terminal to New Zealand’s hopes but Penney admitted his side will need to regroup to make the semi-finals.
"We’ve got to get the boys up again, their hearts are broken at the moment but we’ve another job to do (against Fiji) in four or five’ days."
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