The New Zealand men’s under 20 rugby team has got their World Championship title defence off to a convincing start, beating Japan 67-nil in their tournament opener in France.

The first try of the game came within the first minute when New Zealand lock Will Tucker went over on the back of a sweeping team movement.

New Zealand scored 11 tries in total during the match, including a hat-trick to outside back Jamie Spowart and two tries for Tasman’s Leicester Faingaanuku.

At times the 15-man game appeared more like a sevens match with New Zealand showing off their offloading skills as well as tackle-busting breaks.

New Zealand under 20 captain Tom Christie said the score line didn’t reflect Japan’s competitiveness on the field.

“The Japanese were a classy outfit and they really brought it to us in a couple of areas of the game.

“The driving maul was really challenging to stop and their level of skill at the breakdown was pretty good as well,” Christie said.

New Zealand now face Wales in their second pool match of the tournament, the Welsh beat Australia 26-21 in their opening match earlier this morning.

England also made a strong start to their tournament campaign, beating Argentina 39-18.

New Zealand 67: Will Tucker, Leicester Faingaanuku 2, Bailyn Sullivan, Vilimoni Koroi, Xavier Roe, Tom Christie, John Akauola-Laula, Jamie Spowat 3 tries; Kaleb Trask 5 con, Harry Plummer con; Japan 0. Halftime: 38-0.


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