Full backs to provide extra highlight at JWC
By Rich Freeman
While there are a number of key match-ups in Sunday’s IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship final, the battle between the two full backs could prove to be the most fascinating.
England’s Tom Homer and Robbie Robinson of New Zealand have been two of a number of players who have stood out at this year’s tournament and both are looking forward to the confrontation.
"He is obviously very talented and I am looking forward to the challenge,” Homer said of Robinson. “I have watched some footage and he is very quick and it should be interesting.”
Robinson may not have not seen much of Homer, but he is under no illusions that the Englishman is having a fine tournament as he leads the points scoring chart with 57.
“I haven’t seen a lot of the full back but I read today on IRB.com that he has been playing well and I have heard he is quite sharp,” Robinson said.
Compared to legends
The Southland full back played a big role in the semi final win over South Africa and had a number of New Zealanders in the crowd comparing him to All Blacks legends such as Jeff Wilson and John Gallagher.
“I am pretty pleased with my form,” he said. “But at the end of the day it’s a team effort. The team are going good so the guys on the outside are always on the front foot, so I guess that has helped me look good.”
Homer is not only the leading points scorer, but he has also converted the most tries (15) and has kicked the most penalties (9 – joint with Matthew Jarvis of Wales) and like his New Zealand counterpart is not only pleased with his form but also remarkably relaxed ahead of the final.
When asked if he was going to do anything different, Homer said he would approach it as he would any other game, which meant a fairly relaxed attitude towards goal kicking at the captain’s run.
England coach Mark Mapletoft, however, was keen to point out that it was going to be a team effort that wins the game, but he nonetheless agreed that the two full backs had both been in great from.
“Both are very good players,” he said. “Robbie Robinson looks a tidy operator and looks comfortable across the backline with the skills set he has, as does Tom. Both are good runners and very dangerous. It’s one interesting match-up out of many.”
** Watch New Zealand take on England in the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship 2009 Final live and on-demand for free on Sunday 21 June. The final kicks off at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo at 15:00 local time after the third place play-off between Australia and South Africa. **
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** You can also watch on-demand the two semi finals - New Zealand v Australia and England v South Africa **