IRB Junior World Championship

Discussion in 'International Test Matches' started by Darwin, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    The under 20 world champs are starting in a few days - who do people think will win this years tournament, who are the star players for your team? I've really enjoyed watching these tournaments over the last few years , as the rugby is generally at a very high level, and the tournament is full of future stars of the game (and I've obviously enjoyed the results as well :)).

    The majority of the NZ players are unknown to the NZ public, as few (only 1?) of them have played any provincial rugby before. The stars of the NZ team are probably backs Julian Savea and Charlie Ngatai. Savea is a hugely powerful centre or wing, who has played a few sevens tournaments, and is reminisant at times of a young Lomu. Ngatai is a mid-field back or fullback with incredible pace, as well as size. He played a few provincial games for Wellington last year, and was very impressive. In the forwards probably the most well known player would be loose-forward Luke Whitelock, as he is the brother of 1-time All Blacks George, future All Black Sam, and solid Super 14 player Adam.
     
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  3. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Senior Member

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    This is the best Irish team that has been sent to a Junior WC in many a year. 8 already have Magners League experience, and while we don't have any Rory Clegg or James Gaskell (I know Gaskell is injured) who have bags of GP under their belt that is probably the most experienced team we have ever sent out. Many of our players have been playing the British and Irish Cup as well which is a higher standard of rugby than our U20's would have been used to.

    Ireland won the 6N despite a disappointing loss to France denying us a grandslam.

    Look out for the backrow and the back three. 5 of these 6 players have ML experience and the one who doesn't was probably our best player in the 6N, Patrick Butler.

    BTW for the Irish lads all Irish group games will be on Setanta Ireland :D
     
  4. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    From what i've heard the NZ youth players are second to none, so I'd say they're favorites, though Ireland aren't too shabby


    However: England :p
    Not sure how many of the U20s from the 6N are in the England squad but our forwards were quality
     
  5. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Senior Member

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    You didn't play Rory Clegg against Ireland which was the only game you lost in the 6N, England are contenders too IMO if they keep him fit.
     
  6. TRF_Cymro

    TRF_Cymro Cymro The White

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    If Wales U20 can click then they could be dangerous.
     
  7. Thingimubob

    Thingimubob Senior Member

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    Haven't seen the Wales u20 squad yet, am guessing it's gonna be similar to the one we saw in the 6N. Not sure how they're gonna do, they had a strange 6N tbf! They have a very classy back line, Kristian Phillips is just class atm, Scott Williams (I think that's his name) is a very classy but powerful centre and Dan Fish is a very calm and collected Fullback who is very dangerous on the counter. Not sure on the forwards, I remember Josh Navidi having some very good games for them through the 6 Nations.
    Just saw the group Wales have got, New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji... not exactly easy! Will be a good experience to go up against the cream of the youth of the 3 nations, will be hard fought in all of them tbf. Wales do have a good team, so I'm hoping they'll be competetive right the way through.
     
  8. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    For the last two years England have had quality forwards. In fact last year they had easily the best forward pack in the whole tournament - I was surprised they didn't win, as there forwards looked huge compared to the NZ forwards! In the end England were beaten by a superior NZ backline (that included current All Blacks Zac Guilford and Aaron Cruden).

    NZ should start as favorites (given they have won the last two tournaments). They have a bit more size in the forwards this year, but lack someone of the quality of Aaron Cruden to direct their backline.
     
  9. alexrugby

    alexrugby Senior Member

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    I have seen how these infamous guys put their opposers in a fire :))))

    I think Australia, England and NZ will shine this championship

    Ireland also gives good matches as usual
     
  10. ranger

    ranger Senior Member

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    I wasn't suprised at all. The English team chose muscle-bound gym monkeys and the NZ team chose skill. The English team may have had the biggest pack, but they weren't actually very good rugby players, the NZ team had them in technique, skill and brains.
    If anyone caught the final they would have seen the 5'10'', 88 kilo NZ openside Bernard Hall destroying the english team. I really hope its an eyeopener for them because surely with a player base as large as England have they must have some skillful players at home but are having these muscle men chosen over them.

    On this years NZ team, they have the best midfield pairing for some years in
    12 Charlie Ngatai (He played ANZC for wellington last year as a teenager and did extremely well before the NZRU stepped in and said he wasn't allowed to play anymore) and
    13 Star Timu (Big, Strong, Fast, Skillfull.)

    The halfback, Tawera Kerr-Barlow is exceptional he was the youngest player to sign a professional contract when Waikato signed him in 6th form. He has since played for Waikato and the Cheifs, he will be an All Black as long as he stays fit. NZ sevens rep Julian Savea is lining up on the wing and is my bet for top try scorer. As for lacking someone to direct their backline you obviously haven't seen Christchurch Boys' product Tyler Bledendaal in action yet, hes not as much of a runner as Cruden but he knows how to get a backline firing and has an amazing kicking game, I think hes the captain aswell.

    The pack features the last of the Whitelock brothers in the backrow, an Isaac Ross type lock (In that he has all the skills of a back in the frame of a lock, this is either a good or a bad thing) and a top notch tighthead prop in Willie Ione, his scrummaging technique is flawless.

    If there is an injury in the backs they have a dead ringer for Tim Nanai-Williams as the backup, his name is Gillies Kaka and his ability to break the line is unbelievable.
     
  11. Jockstap

    Jockstap Senior Member

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    I'm actually more excited about this than the baa baas match, I reckon this must be the first time when our forwards look equal in size to the other nations in an under age group. We usually don't catch up to the other nations untill they reach about 23/24.
     
  12. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    I'm not sure if you watched the same game as me, but to my eyes the English pack was dominant during the final last year. They had a number of very good rugby players - Courtney Lawes and James Gaskell were two in particular that stood out to me. I also don't remember Bernie Hall destroying the English team. I remember him running around making a number of tackles, however they weren't dominant tackles and his ball running was largely ineffective - I was actually far more impressed with Brendan O'Conner who was playing on the blindside (despite being an openside). I thought New Zealand won last year despite being outplayed in the forwards - New Zealand won due to a few moments of brilliance from Cruden and Robbie Robinson.


    I forgot about Kerr-Barlow, he is obviously going to be a key player. I have seen Tyler Bleyendaal play (once). He is a very good player, but certainly didn't look in same class as Cruden - I'd be shocked if he makes the AB's within a year of the tournament like Cruden did! I've no idea how good his goalkicking is (or if he will be taking the kicks?), but I hope our goalkicking is better this year than last year.
     
  13. ranger

    ranger Senior Member

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    We must have been watching different games because to me the musclemen approach England took was shown up by the NZ pack. Sure the English team was bigger (as they are every single year) but the NZ pack was everywhere.
    This was illustrated by Bernie Hall, it seemed like the guy was at every ruck and everytime Robinson or Cruden made a break he was right there to link up. O'Conner was great too but i felt that Hall was NZs best forward.
    Maybe saying he destroyed the english pack was a poor choice of words, he picked them apart. He was quicker to every ruck and his tackle count was ridiculous. He turned over alot of ball and to say his ball running was ineffective is short sighted, he didnt break tackles but he was extremely valuable as a link player.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1cbXplXBy4&feature=related
    This is the only clip i could find but it shows Hall turning over the ball in the first play of the game and providing the link between Robinson and Cruden at about 3:00.
    Honestly, every year it is the same tactic from England, pick the biggest players possible.

    As for Tyler, he isn't the superstar that Cruden was. But you said they didn't have the player to direct the backline. He is arguably better than Cruden at directing the backline. He doesnt have Crudens running ability but he can create for other players and plays a very clever game. Its like comparing Andrew Mehrtens to Carlos Spencer.
    Its not his goalkicking i was talking about either, it was his tactical kicking game. He has a long punt and is very accurate off both feet. He would be a superstar in the northern hemisphre. Ive played against him a few times and his ability to kick for the corners and land it in the exact right spot is uncanny. Hes pretty much the opposite to Cruden
     
  14. TRF_Olyy

    TRF_Olyy English Arrogance

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    I wouldn't say that England have/had an overly muscle bound team,
    Our props are bigger than most at that age but i wouldn't say it was because they're gym monkeys, they're just generally bigger
    Our main locks were Lawes and Gaskell - Gaskell is like a beanpole, and lawes is of average size for a lock
    Can't really remember a lot of other players, but none of them really leap out as being gym monkeys, like James Haskell
    After watching that clip all the players seem of similar size, the only thing that's different is that NZ seem to have a lot more pace than the England players
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2010
  15. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Senior Member

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    Lawes is big for most professional lock, for an U20 last year he was ******* MASSIVE. Gaskell may be a lighter more athletic player but he is hardly small. England do usually have the biggest pack in the U20 6N, Ireland usually have one of the smallest (not this year). The England brains trust seem to think getting your young players as big as possible as soon as possible is the way to go and it's probably why they do so well at Under 18 level and not quite as well at U20.
     
  16. snoopy snoopy dog dog

    snoopy snoopy dog dog Senior Member

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    A question must be asked of England as to how they can compete so strongly at all levels up to and including u20 and then fall off so badly after that (since they won the World Cup in 2003). Are they concentrating too much on bulking up at underage level and bludgeoning teams into submission or is coaching in the Premiership **** poor once they leave the academy structure?
     
  17. Duckdee

    Duckdee Senior Member

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    I'm looking forward to see how Callum Green does, as he's probably going to be in Tigers' matchday squad a fair few times next season.
     
  18. coonor

    coonor Senior Member

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    I'll be keeping an eye on Andrew Conway surely he'll be anouther future irish star in the backs.
     
  19. dullonien

    dullonien Senior Member

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    Wales are a mixed bag. Up front we usually get dominated by teams such as England, especially at scrum time. I do think our backline looked very impressive though. The backline will include the likes of Lloyd Williams, Mathew Jarvis, Scott Williams, Kristian Phillips and Dan Fish. Expecting a massive tournament from Phillips, as he's the player that stood out for me during the 6nations. Bags of pace, confidence and skill.

    Wonder if Tom Prydie would have been involved in this if he wasn't playing for the full Welsh squad? He wasn't in the U20 6nations because he was involved with the under 18's instead and ful Welsh squad instead!
     
  20. snoopy snoopy dog dog

    snoopy snoopy dog dog Senior Member

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    They impressed me when Wales played Ireland. Phillips looks the more rounded player whereas Fish will skin any defender if given a small bit of space.

    From an Ireland point of view, I'm most looking forward to seeing Tiernan O'Halloran play. He's a very skillful winger who likes to get involved in general play much like Tommy Bowe. I'd put my house on him going on to earn 50 or more caps for the senior team. It's a strong Irish backrow and backline - hopefully the scrumhalf can get them the ball though. I felt he was the weak link in the team during the 6 Nations. John Cooney was decent when running with the ball but his passing let him down and he box kicked too often.
     
  21. Darwin

    Darwin AKA Dingo_Darwin

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    I disagree with this. Generally the NZ forwards are as big (if not bigger) than the English teams at this level - looking at the squads on the IRB website would suggest that this year the forward packs are very comparable in size. Generally NZ has a couple of huge props, and some big loosies too - for example two years ago the starting pack had two 130kg + props (Afeaki and Fa'anunu), a 2m+ lock (Sam Whitelock), and some huge 110 kg + loosies (Saili, Manu), with a 120+ kg loose forward (Luamanua) on the bench. They were easily the biggest pack in the tournament and completely dominated up front. In the under 21's the year before that we had the likes of Charlie Faumauina, Sekope Kepu, and Owen Franks in the front row , and Levave and Lowrey in the loose forwards - all really big guys! Last years team was the exception rather than the rule size-wise, as we started three small loosies: Hall around 88kg, Bosewell-Wakefield around 93-94kg, and O'Conner around 100kg.

    Yeah you are right there - I do agree that Bleyendaal is probably as good a player as Cruden at directing a backline around the field (I'd expect he should be good, coming from the first-five factory that is Christchurch Boys!). I shouldn't have used the word 'directing' as it wasn't really what I ment. My point should have been that Bleyendaal (from what I've seen) lacks the superb running game that Cruden has. Last years team won due to there spectacular play in the backs (driven largely by Cruden) - whether Bleyendaal can get this years backline firing as well as Cruden had it firing last year is yet to be seen. Personally I think Crudens game was ideally suited to style the rugby played at under 20's level (an open style of running rugby), whereas I think Bleyendaals game may be more suited to test match rugby (no that its a bad thing at all!).
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2010
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