Baby Blacks' rousing haka met by 80-second French staredown

New Zealand's under-20s side were locked in a captivating staredown with their French opponents in the World Championship semi-final this morning, before running out dominant winners.

The French players stood hand-in-hand on the halfway line, and refused to look away after the Baby Blacks finished their pre-match ritual of a haka - the referee trying numerous times to get the game underway but being ignored.

However after standing directly in front of the New Zealand team for an extended period, the under-20 All Blacks finally relented and looked away.

By that point, the two teams had locked eyes for near on 80 seconds.

However, France's defiance mattered little when play actually got underway - New Zealand doing the damage early to race away to a 36-0 lead, before the French showed their mettle by bridging the gap and finishing the game 39-26 down.

New Zealand under-20s will face England in the World Championships final.