JWC 2013 official launch reaction

(IRB.COM) Sunday 2 June 2013
 
 JWC 2013 official launch reaction
The captains of South Africa, England, France and USA at the JWC 2013 launch in Nantes - Photo: Steven Lebreton

We bring you all the reaction from the official launch of the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France.

POOL A

South Africa captain Ruan Steenkamp
: "I am very excited and I can speak for my team to say we are all excited, it is a big tournament but we are ready for it. We are the defending champions but we still have to go and play the tournament and obviously we want to take the trophy back home again but we have to give our best. You can't come to a World Cup and lose a game, you have to go from the start and win your games and it is tough competition, so win it and you take the trophy home. We don't know a lot about our opponents, we just have to play and take every opponent as a hard opponent. We are not going to take any game as an easy game and we are ready for it.

"It is a sad loss [to lose Jan Serfontein to the Springboks and Sergeal Petersen to injury], it would be great if both of them could have played now but we are a really tough side and have really good talent and they have slotted in well. The vibes in the squad are just awesome, everyone is excited and just can't wait to get out on the field and play."

England captain Jack Clifford:
“Really looking forward to it, it is going to be a massive challenge with the host nation kicking off and then afterwards we have got the winners from last year. Two massive tests in the first two games and then USA at the end and they are going to be an unknown team so it will be a really big test.

“We can’t look at it that like that [that we beat France 40-10 in the Six Nations], I think it is going to be a completely different team and you are playing France in France with their home crowd, they are the host nation so it will be completely different. We are just going to really focus on each game and really look at ourselves in this one rather than looking at the opposition in this one.

“It [the JWC] is a massive opportunity, it is a great place to showcase your talent, you are playing against the best teams in the world and it is a great opportunity in an awesome atmosphere, especially in France with the crowds behind you I think it is going to be an awesome opportunity."

France captain Paul Jedrasiak:
"It is a lot of pride to play this World Championship. We know this competition is a great event, it is one of the biggest in the world game. Playing major matches with the French jersey brings a very positive pressure for us. Participating in a world championship is just massive and I am sure we'll never forget it.

"Our objective is to be world champions, as simple as that. We want to win all our matches and finish unbeaten at home.

"This is a special match. First of all because it's England and even at our age, there is a great rivalry between us. Then, because we lost comprehensively in England and did not play well. But we see this match as a major international game. We've been thinking of it for the last two weeks! We are preparing well for a revenge and to avoid the small errors we made last time.

"This is massive [to play in the JWC at home]. Being lucky enough to sport the French jersey for such an event at home before French crowds makes me quite proud. I think that this competition in which we will take part will remain an unforgettable moment. I don't have any words to express my feelings."

USA captain Tom Bliss: "Thoroughly looking forward to it, it's been a long build up, we've had several camps out in America but here at last and all the boys are buzzing and ready to go. Obviously it is going to be a bit of a step up from the Trophy last year but hopefully we can make the progression and be able to compete with the higher tier nations. It [rugby] is developing in America, it is on the rise and it is good for the Game in America to be competing at the highest level.

"It is going to be a very tough first game but one which the lads are relishing and looking forward to. We are not scared of the opposition, we are here to play and compete and hopefully it should be a good game. It is not the easiest of pools but we are going to make the most of it, we are going to relish every single game, try not to take a backward step and we are thoroughly looking forward to playing each of the nations."

POOL B

New Zealand captain Ardie Savea:
"Pretty excited, to captain the New Zealand side is a privilege and honour and I think the boys are just buzzing over to get that first game over. I was quite overwhelmed and excited at the same time [to be named captain]. I was proud and I was happy because all I wanted to do was make my parents proud and to get this was just awesome for my family.

"I watched Jules [brother Julian, a JWC 2010 winner and IRB Junior Player of the Year 2010] play in this tournament when I was back home and it is pretty unreal being where he was before. He has always been someone I have looked up to because he's always been there in front of my eyes, someone I want to be like and it would be really good to aspire to.

"There is always big expectation of us New Zealand boys to win the trophy, I guess we will take it game by game, every team is getting better and the boys will just take it step by step, game by game."

Australia captain Curtis Browning: "It is invaluable the experience [of playing at JWC 2012], there are a lot of boys back from last year, five or six of us, and the whole group is better of for it and knowing what to expect a little more and the physicality and the next level up for all the boys and the whole team is looking forward to the tournament and just looking to get out there.

"The boys know what a great opportunity it is for us and it is a stage for us to display what we have got and how good we are as players on the top stage for our age group. There are a lot of guys that have moved on and we know that and we just hope we can put our best foot forward so we can be honoured enough to do the same.

"They [Ireland] had a strong performance in the Six Nations and we know they are going to be solid around the park and really tight in the forwards and they will really put it to us for the full 80 minutes. The boys are just keen to get out there and rip in.

Ireland captain Luke McGrath: "All is good in camp, everyone really looking forward to it now. We had a very good year last year, we stuck together as a team and got through it, it’s tough and takes a lot of change in the team, we had a good squad rotation last year which kind of really helped and a lot of belief in the team. It is looking similar this year hopefully, we have a lot of competition for places and everyone is on the same page.

“It kind of set us up nicely [beating South Africa on day one at JWC 2012]. Most people are saying that the first game is probably the most important one because it kind of sets you up so it is very important we get that win on Wednesday and hopefully that will set us up. We’re just focused on Australia for now.

"We are used to playing the Six Nations side nearly every year so I suppose it is really good for our learning experience to play against these southern hemisphere sides, learn a lot of them, play against them and ultimately we are hoping to beat them which will be absolutely amazing."

Fiji captain Esikia Macu: "The boys have been preparing very well for the last few weeks and we are hoping to have a good game against New Zealand and all the boys are looking forward to it. The supporters back home have been fully supporting us and in Clermont too, we spent the last few days there and all the Fijians there were behind us. The Fijian players at Clermont told us just to play the Fijian way and do our best on the field."

POOL C

Wales coach Danny Wilson: "I think it is going to be a fiercely contested tournametn agian, some good rugby been played already by sides in terms of through the Six Nations and warm-up games and I htink there are some very competitive tough pools ahead and I'm looking forward to it.

“I think we would have to say that [the semi final is our target], obviously it is not a cliché to say we will take one game at a time and we won't look further than Samoa at the moment which will be a big physical challenge first game up. I think when we look at our group, the sides we have played recently over the last year or so and beaten I think we would be doing ourselves disservice by not aiming to be coming out of this pool again. It's a very tough pool, Samoa physical, Scotland will be a better side from the Six Nations and more time together they have had recently and Argentina have obviously beaten the champions twice in recent fixtures, very tough pool but one we are definitely aiming to come out of.”

Argentina captain Felipe Ezcurra: "We are very enthusiastic and really looking forward to the tournament and can't wait to start now. We don't really have objectives for the tournament, we just want to play the best rugby that we can and do the best that we can.

"As a player the Junior World Championship is just the best you can get. It is very, very important for us and we are very happy to play against the best in the world, there is nothing better than this."

Scotland captain Jonny Gray: "All the boys are really honoured and grateful to be here and we're looking forward to that first game against Argentina. It's been building up each week and we're really excited now we're here in France and are raring to go.

We know all our games in the pool are going to be tough, we know Argentina are going to be very physical up front and got a very strong set piece so it is going to be a strong challenge. There is a massive belief in the squad and we are always going to go as far as we can go. We are always looking to improve as well so just take each game as it comes and hopefully get some results.

"It is a massive honour [to follow in brother Richie's footsteps on the JWC stage], I remember watching the games on TV and thinking I'm very proud of him. It is surreal to be here myself so I am very grateful and lucky to be here. He is always there, he is a good role model for myself and whenever I am struggling or needing some advice I can just pick up the phone and call him."

Samoa captain Sam Ah Sam: "We are quiet excited, quietly confident and hopefully we can turn some heads. I think we have got a few boys across the park that can really perform and help us do well this World Cup, some boys in the backline who can really run and hopefully they come out and shine.

"We have had very good support from back home. Yesterday marked 51 years of independence back on the islands and I think spirits are high in the country and support for us has been good. This will certainly will be motivation for us. I think we left the country with good inspiration and motivation from the leaders of the country and hopefully we can do them proud."