Keeping it in the family at JWC 2012

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 29 May 2012
 Keeping it in the family at JWC 2012
Michael Little comes from a family with a strong Rugby pedigree with his father, uncle and cousin all playing Test rugby - Photo: Fiji Rugby Union

The IRB Junior World Championship is rugby's premier stage to catch a glimpse of the stars of tomorrow.

The Under 20 tournament also offers keen followers of the game a chance to gaze back, name check and remember the fathers, uncles, brothers and cousins of the current crop of young stars.

JWC 2012 in South Africa will be another big family affair, with many familiar names on display over the 30-match tournament. Here are some you might know.


Scrum half Rodolfo Ambrosio is the brother of Stefano, who played Under 19 age group rugby for Italy and who recently gained his first two caps for Argentina in the South American Championship in Chile. Their father Rodolfo is also a former international, having played 12 Tests for Italy between 1987 and 1989, including the first ever Rugby World Cup match against the All Blacks.

Flanker Joaquin Camacho, a recent addition to the Pumitas squad due to injury, is the brother of Pumas wing Gonzalo. All five Camacho brothers play rugby, three of them - including Joaquin - at the Buenos Aires Cricket and Rugby Club, while one of his four sisters is married to former Puma second row Mariano Sambucetti.

Fly half Sebastian Poet’s father earned a cap for the Pumas in 1976 as a prop, while German Lefort is nephew of former Pumas hooker Ricardo who played at Rugby World Cup 1991.


Prop Allan Alaalatoa’s father Vili was a member of Samoa's squad for their Rugby World Cup debut in 1991, while flanker Curtis Browning’s grandfather Dick Marks gained 17 Wallaby caps between 1962 and 1967.

Centre Apolosi Latunipulu comes from a rugby family. Brother Sam played at the 2009 edition of the Junior World Championship in Japan and their grandfather, Moahegi Latunipulu played three games for Tonga back in 1926.

Scrum half Matt Lucas, who is returning for his second Junior World Championship, is the younger brother of Ben, a member of the last Australian age grade team to win a world title at the IRB Under 19 World Championship in Dubai in 2006. 

Leslie Makin’s uncle Seilala Mapusua played at RWC 2007 and 2011 for Samoa, the centre having accumulated 23 caps for Samoa and seven for the Pacific Islanders. Flanker Benn Melrose also has a fine pedigree with uncle Tony earning six caps for the Wallabies in across 1978 and 1979, while also playing State of Origin (rugby league) for NSW.


Flanker Billy Vunipola comes from a rich rugby background. Brother Mako played in the last two editions of the Junior World Championship, picking up a runners-up medal in 2011 after England lost to New Zealand in the final. Their father Fe’ao played 32 Tests for Tonga from 1988 to 2001, playing in both RWC 1995 and 1999.

Chris Walker is not the only member of his family to captain an England age grade team, his younger brother Jack has recently captained the Under 16s.


Michael Little boasts one of the finest bloodlines of all at JWC 2012. His father Walter was an All Black between 1990 and 1998, scoring nine tries in his 50 caps, while his uncle Lawrence and cousin Nicky were both Fiji internationals, earning 14 and 71 caps respectively. Nicky is Fiji's record point scorer with 670 across his 15 years in the national team, which included four Rugby World Cups. 


Prop Sebastien Taofifeniua, who is playing in his second Junior World Championship, follows in the footsteps of his brother Romain, a member of the French Under 20 team at JWC 2010 in Argentina.


Flanker Jordon Coghlan is the cousin of Fiona Coghlan, who captains the Ireland Women’s national team and has earned over 50 caps.


Fly half John Apperley’s father Regan Sue is New Zealand born but played Test rugby for Denmark, also as a fly half, on five occasions between 2001 and 2005 and scored 36 points.


Centre Tommy Allan and flanker Gary Graham will hope to follow in their fathers’ footsteps. George Graham is a former Scotland prop with 25 caps between 1997 and 2002, while John Allan boasts nine caps for Scotland from 1990 to 1991 and 13 for the Springboks between 1993 and 1996.

Hooker Fergus Scott is the younger brother of Matt, who played at the Junior World Championship in 2010 and made his Test debut for Scotland in the 2012  Six Nations. He is also part of Scotland's squad for the Tests against Australia, Fiji and Samoa in June. 

South Africa

Fly half Tony Jantjies is following in the footsteps of his brother Elton, who started all five matches at JWC 2011 and has played for the Springboks in a midweek match. 

Prop Oliver Kebble is the son of former Springbok prop Guy, who played four Tests and 12 matches across 1993-1994, while second row Pieter Steph du Toit's grandfather was a Springbok prop between 1958 and 1961, playing in 14 Tests and 49 games in total.

Jan Serfontein also has talented family connections, his dad Jan played 117 matches for Eastern Province in the 1980's, while his great grandfather Jack Slater was a Springbok wing who played in three Tests in 1924 and 1928.

Number 8 Braam Steyn is cousin of Benjamin de Jager, who captained Italy's Sevens team and played one Test for the national side in 2006.


Fly half Sam Davies is the son of the Llanelli Scarlets director of rugby Nigel Davies.