Former Diss junior unable to prevent England’s loss to New Zealand in world U20 final

New Zealand's Atunaisa Moli, center, is tackled by England's Charlie Ewels, left, and Will Owen duri

New Zealand's Atunaisa Moli, center, is tackled by England's Charlie Ewels, left, and Will Owen during the Rugby Junior World Championship final match at Cremona's Zini stadium, Italy, Saturday, June 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini) - Credit: AP

England's hold on the World Rugby Under-20 Championship title came to an end, with former Diss Rugby Club junior Will Owen among the players beaten by New Zealand.

The New Zealand team celebrates at the end of the Rugby Junior World Championship final match agains

The New Zealand team celebrates at the end of the Rugby Junior World Championship final match against England at Cremona's Zini stadium, Italy, Saturday, June 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini) - Credit: AP

The Baby Blacks won 21-16 in Italy on Saturday night to prevent England from winning the title for a third consecutive year.

Despite a strong start and an early score by centre Max Clark, England found themselves 11-10 down at half-time as penalties proved costly.

New Zealand extended their lead early in the second half when No8 Akira Ioane drove over the line. England responded with six points from the boot of Rory Jennings but they were not able to force the crucial turning point, with one try being disallowed.

Leicester Tigers academy flanker Owen – who played for Diss for 11 years – picked up his 12th cap at U20 level, having started every match of the competition, and was replaced by Sam Skinner in the 75th minute.

England U20s head coach Jon Callard said: 'I am honoured and privileged to be in a position to be talking about such fine young men. They have been a great advert for the game and great ambassadors for their clubs and country. I can't speak highly enough of them and I know that a lot of them will go on to further honours.

'We were the smallest of margins away from finding the solution there, if it had gone on for another ten minutes we may have snuck it but we couldn't quite adapt and deliver that one play in the crucial moment that would have made the difference and we will learn from that moving forward.

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'We are hugely disappointed with the result of this match but massively pleased with the way the lads have dug in and played some great rugby during the tournament. There is real talent in this group and I'm sure they will be pushing hard for places in the senior side in years to come.

'New Zealand defended well and were aggressive in the tackle. In the end they got the upper hand in the breakdown, they managed to slow us down and prevent quick attack.'