Points from washout work in favour of Baby Blacks

Otago hooker A-One Lolofie and his mates must have felt like they were turning into water polo players yesterday.

The New Zealand under-20 team beat Spain 45-13 at the world junior championship in South Africa - but the game only lasted 40 minutes.

Conditions were shocking at the waterlogged Danie Craven Stadium after a period of intense rain in Stellenbosch.

After a first half in which players splashed and slid around the soaked ground, World Rugby made the call to abandon the game in the interests of safety as another storm approached.

Turns out a completed half means the result can be considered legitimate, so the Baby Blacks received all five championship points.

"Far out, that was terrible conditions," New Zealand under-20 captain Xavier Taele said.

"I’ve never seen rain like that. It was pretty tough. I’m proud the boys came through."

The Baby Blacks topped pool A with the maximum 15 points and will play France in the semifinals.

The young New Zealanders showed some fine skills and splashed down twice in the first 10 minutes. Captain Mosese Bason added two tries, and Lolofie got on the board at the back of a lineout maul.

New Zealand’s best try was in the 20th minute when fullback Issac Hutchinson and halfback Ben O’Donovan combined in a breakout move that led to a try for lock Tom Allen.

Spain, playing in the tournament for the first time, had a nice highlight when blindside flanker Victor Ofojetu won a slippery race to a loose ball.

Otago halfback Dylan Pledger was rested for this game but will likely make the starting XV for the semifinal on Monday.

Conditions were similar in Cape Town, where the Australia-Ireland game was called off and declared a draw. That knocked Australia out of the tournament. Ireland will play England in the other semifinal.