Keeping it in the family at the JWC 2013

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 4 June 2013
 Keeping it in the family at the JWC 2013
Robert du Preez is the son of former Springbok by the same name - Photo: SARU

The IRB Junior World Championship has always given spectators a sneak peak into rugby’s future, with the best young players from around the globe showcasing their skills.

With more than 210 players having graduated from the tournament to the Test arena, it’s no surprise that each year a few familiar names crop up as the next generation of players come through the ranks. Look closely and you will be able to name check more than a few, remembering fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins from years gone by.

JWC 2013 in France will be no different so we have done a bit of digging and unearthed a few family connections that you might recognise.


Centre Emiliano Boffelli is the third Bofelli to play for his country, with brothers Camilo and Simón having also gained caps for Argentina. Camilo played five times between 1997 and 2004 while Simón played once for Argentina A and Los Pumas in 2005.

Another familiar name in the Argentina shirt will be wing Rodrigo Etchart, whose brother Cristian played at the IRB U19 World Championship in 2007.


No less than seven Australian players this year have family connections. Prop Allan Alaalatoa is the son of Vili Alaalatoa, who played for Samoa at Rugby World Cup 1991, while captain and flanker Curtis Browning is the grandson of Dick Marks, who played for Australia 17 times between 1962 and 1967. 

Number 8 Pat Sio has plenty of JWC heritage as his brother Scott played one match for Australia in the 2010 tournament in Argentina and five matches a year later in Italy. His father Tavita also appeared twice for Samoa in the early 1990s.

Wing Harry Parker's father Tony played four Tests for Australia in 1983, while his cousin James Hanson played for Australia in the inaugural JWC in 2008 and was a member of their side that won the IRB Under 19 World Championship in Dubai in 2006. He made his Test debut for the Wallabies against New Zealand in October 2012. 

Henry Taefu's uncle is former New Zealand Sevens star Orene Ai'i, the IRB Sevens Player of the Year in 2005 and his country's third highest point scorer of all time in the IRB's Sevens World Series. Prop Silatolu Latu meanwhile has a cousin, Lotu Taukeiaho, who played in the Top 14 in France.

It isn't just rugby union connections either though as hooker Maile Ngauamo is related to NRL player Willie Tonga, who played seven years of Rugby League for Australia between 2004 and 2011.


We have already picked prop Luke Cowan-Dickie as "one to watch" in the tournament this year and with brother Tom playing for Exeter Chiefs in the English Premiership and having played for England Under 19s our expectations may not be unfounded. Continuing the family ties for England is full back Anthony Watson, whose brother Marcus has featured for England on the HSBC Sevens World Series this year, having previously played on the JWC stage in 2010.

Although lining up for England, flanker Ross Moriarty has his roots in Welsh rugby. His father Paul played for Swansea and Wales between 1986 and 1988, while his uncle Richard played for the same teams between 1981 and 1987. Both of them played at the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.


With such rugby heritage it's no surprise that seven of Fiji's Under 20 squad have family connections. Centre Nasoni Kunavore is the brother of former Fiji international Maleli Kunavore. Centre Filimoni Seru is the son of his namesake and father Filimoni, who played for Fiji in the early 1990s, scoring four tries in 10 Tests. His mother meanwhile is a former captain of the Fiji national netball team.

Ialtia Tuisese is the grandfather of wing Peceli Tuisese, and played 17 Tests for Fiji between 1969 and 1977, while second row Viliame Rararasea's grandfather Viliame Lilidamu played three Tests for Fiji between 1986 and 1988. 

Fiji's flanker Marika Vunibaka comes from a strong Sevens pedigree as his uncle and namesake was Marika Vunibaka, who was a member of their Rugby World Cup Sevens winning squads in 1997 and 2005. He is the all-time leading try scorer in RWC Sevens history and also played 17 Tests in the Fifteens Game, playing at Rugby World Cups in 1999 and 2003.

Prop Zachary Lee is also the younger brother of current Australian Sevens player Peter Lee, who also played for Fiji in the Junior World Championship back in 2011.


Ireland's sole family link is for Munster second row Sean McCarthy. His uncle is Mick Galwey, a former Ireland and British & Irish Lion Test player who notched up 41 Tests for Ireland between 1991 and 2002, as well as a Lions tour to New Zealand in 1993.

There are though a set of twins in the Ireland squad for JWC 2013 in prop Edward and hooker Brian Bryne.

New Zealand

Never short of famous names, this year's New Zealand side features two players with a strong JWC pedigree. First up is Scott Barrett, the younger brother of Beauden Barrett. Beauden played for the Baby Blacks at JWC 2011, scoring three tries in five matches, including a decisive try in the final. He made his All Blacks debut in 2012 against Ireland and now has nine caps.

Julian Savea was the IRB Junior Player of the Year in 2010 after his performance at the Junior World Championship in Argentina. He is still the joint record holder for tries scored in a single tournament with eight and made the transfer to Test rugby with the All Blacks look easy last year, scoring 12 tries in nine Tests. His brother Ardie, who has already made an impact with the New Zealand Sevens team and at Super Rugby level with the Hurricanes, will captain New Zealand in France.


Fly half Tommy Allan's father John played both for Scotland and South Africa. He played nine times for Scotland between 1990 and 1991 and then 13 times for the Springboks between 1993 and 1996.

Another surname back on the Scotland team list on the JWC stage is Gray with the class of 2013 captained by Jonny Gray, the younger brother of Scotland and British & Irish Lions second row Richie who played at JWC 2008 and 2009.

South Africa

The defending champions have two family connections in second row Jannes Kirsten and fly half Robert du Preez. Kirsten is the brother of Frik Kirsten, the Bulls prop who played in the inaugural tournament in 2008. Du Preez's father Robert is a former Springbok and Bulls scrum half who now coaches leading Durban side College Rovers.


And finally, the Welsh, who have five family connections in their JWC 2013 squad. Fly half Sam Davies is the son of Gloucester director of rugby Nigel, while Owen Jenkins is the son of Welsh rugby legend Garin, who played 58 Tests from 1991 to 2000 and was involved in three Rugby World Cups.

Captain Ellis Jenkins is the cousin of Wales and British & Irish Lions legend Neil Jenkins. Fly half Jenkins played 87 Tests for Wales, four Tests for the Lions, and featured in two Rugby World Cups.

Wales forward Jack Jones is the grandson of Neath back row Brian Thomas, while Aaron Warren is the brother of Adam Warren, who played for Wales versus the Barbarians in June 2012.

Seventeen matches will be streamed live on the IRB website during the Junior World Championship ... click here for more information on which matches and where you can also watch the tournament on television around the world.