TBILISI, Georgia -- A slack semifinal second-half performance against France helped inspire New Zealand Under-20s to their historic World Rugby U20 Championship final win over England.
The Baby Blacks led 36-0 in the 46th minute of their last-four clash before conceding 26 unanswered points as they took their foot off the gas.
New Zealand held on to win 39-26 and they made sure there was no repeat on Sunday as they converted a 40-7 half-time lead into a 64-17 victory, to secure a sixth world junior crown.
That was despite scoring what captain Luke Jacobson admitted were a "couple of lucky tries" in the first 40 minutes against England.
"We learned a lot. Every game you take the learnings out of it. The main one is you've never won the game. We learnt that from last week," Jacobson said.
"You just bind together as a team and know you'll be alright. We knew England would come out but we got a couple of lucky tries at the start and we just kept going.
"Once you're down like that, it was hard for England so we just kept going to not let them in and we did that well."
In a ruthless attacking display from the Baby Blacks, hooker Asafo Aumua followed up his standout performance against France with three tries in the final.
Jacobson also touched down twice on Sunday, to help maintain the Baby Blacks' perfect record against England in U20 finals.
"The final reflects our whole campaign. We came out and played some really good footie we can be proud of," Jacobson said.
"We're hugely stoked to be able to come out and do it in the final so it was awesome."
England can be proud of their achievements as they leave Georgia, and captain Zach Mercer knows his players have come a long way in the tournament.
"We probably defied the odds," he said. "People didn't expect us to get this far and we've proved them wrong. That's all I can ask for from the boys.
"Our determination to dig deep in certain games has been phenomenal. This is a team that when the going gets tough, they keep going. It's an outstanding squad effort."