Congratulations to Billy Burns and the England U20s, on winning the Junior Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
England have been crowned IRB Junior World Champions for 2014 after beating South Africa 21-20 in a pulsating final at Eden Park on Friday night.
The hard-fought victory extends England’s hold on the trophy, which they won last year in France.
Hosts New Zealand finished the tournament on a high by beating Ireland to third place, while Australia also finished strongly to edge France for fifth.
Wales beat Samoa to seventh, Argentina overcame Scotland to finish ninth and Italy edged Fiji 22-17 to ensure that they will remain in the draw for the competition they are due to host in 2015. As the 12th-placed finishers Fiji will play the Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2015.
It took 20 minutes for the first try of the final, but when it came it was worth waiting for. England knocked on and SA captain Handre Pollard spotted a gap in the defence with a perfectly weighted chip. Jesse Kriel won the race to the ball and had an easy run to the line.
England responded with a long-range penalty attempt from Aaron Morris and hit the front for the first time on the stroke of half-time when Nathan Earle, an IRB Junior Player of the Year nominee, went over in the right corner to give his side an 11-10 lead at the break.
The two sides traded penalties in the 10 minute period after the break, before replacement back row Joel Conlon dropped down on the ball after a strong drive from the England forwards to make it 21-13.
Pollard gathered his troops together under the posts and after weathering another period of England pressure it was the Junior Boks who hit back with some slick hands down the left wing, Duhan van der Merwe breaking a tackle to send Kriel over for his second try, which galvanised the South Africans and their bellowing support.
They came close to scoring another try within minutes after a break by the other Kriel twin on the park, Dan, but England’s defence held firm.
England were barely able to get out of their own half in the final quarter but held wave after wave of South African attack. Pollard missed with a drop goal attempt and when the final whistle blew England celebrated a successful title defence.
(IRB.COM) Friday 20 June 2014