JWC 2013: Finals day reaction

(IRB.COM) Sunday 23 June 2013
 
 JWC 2013: Finals day reaction
South Africa recovered from 21-0 down to beat New Zealand in a thrilling third place play-off

We bring you all the reaction from the final day of the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France which saw England crowned champions for the first time.

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THE FINAL

England captain Jack Clifford: "Amazing, I have never felt anything like it before, awesome feeling and very humbling. The support we had and the way the guys played was just fantastic. We had to pull together and it was all about heart then, we had one man down and 12 points down, it was all about the heart and putting in 150 per cent. It was all about playing with tempo and going round the corner and out-work them. I think after maybe our second try that maybe we had it, but there was no point where I thought we really had it definitely, all credit to Wales they are a great team and they really took it to us.

"It was an awesome advertisement as it shows that the southern hemisphere teams are not dominating this competition and we really do have a chance and now the fact that here’s an England name on that trophy it really shows that. It’s an awesome feeling and a highlight of my career so far. I said that when winning the Six Nations but this really is. I don’t think there’s a better way to sign off as we have just won the World Cup. Everyone is so happy and I think the boys are just going to enjoy this moment."

England fly half Henry Slade: "Our defence in the second half we ramped it up a bit, but we conceded two tries in first half. We kept making handling errors in the first half, little passes here and there that were not sticking, but we managed to keep the ball and maintain momentum. The key for us was just getting hold of the ball and playing our game, which we did in the second half

“It’s such an amazing feeling to win this trophy. It’s the last time we’ll play together as a group and we knew that we had one more performance left in us. We definitely did it the hard way, but we’re just buzzing to actually get the win.  Credit to the Welsh, they put up one hell of a fight – but we’ve done it, and I can’t wait for it to sink in!”

England coach Nick Walshe: "First half, the Welsh put us under a lot of pressure and we weren’t at the races. I was worried at one point, but I knew what this team could do – we can come back. They showed what they can do – we were the stronger side at the end. I’m absolutely delighted.

"It was brilliant for English and Welsh rugby to have both teams in the final – absolutely fantastic for Northern Hemisphere rugby. It was a really good final – maybe our quality in the first half wasn’t great, and maybe Wales dropped off in the second half. These games are so tense – all the young men, fair play to them, it’s difficult out there to make history."

England try-scorer Jack Nowell: "We made it very difficult for ourselves out there but that just showed how much of a team we are, to come together like we did and then in the second half we blew them away a bit. But to be fair to Wales they came at us and are a very physical team, a very good team. In the second half we had to step up our game and we did that well."

IRB Junior Player of the Year Sam Davies: "The JWC is a great tournament to play at and I have just taken it one step at a time and I have grown as a player. We stuck to our game plan in the first half of the match but England came out strong and just beat us in the second half really. Congratulations to them though."

"It is an honour (to be named IRB Junior Player of the Year), just to see the names of the other people that have had it before me, it makes it extra special. I’m gutted with the result today but this is a bonus picking up this award. Hopefully, I can pick up where I left off and crack on with pre-season and look to get into the first team with the Ospreys.

"First half, we played well, we were the better team. We showed England how clinical we could be, but coming out the tunnel, we couldn’t quite get back into our game. That cost us two cheap penalties at start of second half. Going back into our own half and then we seemed to be there for the rest of the game. Fair play to England for coming out and overpowering us. It’s gutting, but I’m proud to be where we are – the best ever finish we’ve had. I’m sure the WRU can pick up where we left off and crack on next year."

Wales captain Ellis Jenkins: “It’s tough you know the second time this season that we have come unstuck against England but I’m extremely proud of the boys and what we have achieved in this tournament. We have come a long way as players, as a team and as friends.

“It’s been a long tournament. Obviously the games just keep on coming and I suppose it was just 20 minutes too long for us really. England, fair play to them they kept coming at us throughout the game and unfortunately it was just a bit too much for us come the end of the game.

“We spoke at half time that we had a genuine opportunity to win at half-time and they had a man in the bin as well but unfortunately we didn’t make the most of it and they controlled the game really well and kept piling on the pressure. It’s tough to take at the moment but I’m sure after this tournament we will look back and have a lot of fond memories of the tournament.

“We should have come away from that (sin-bin) with a score. We had the opportunity but unfortunately we didn’t make the most of it. Take nothing away from England and have shown several times this season why they are Six Nations and world champions and credit to them they are deserved winners.

“At the moment it does not feel like that but I suppose after there will be a lot of fond memories. We have made history being the first Welsh side to get to the final but I suppose that makes it a lot harder to take. The smallest margins make the biggest difference so to get to the final and not make the most of it is tough to take.”

Wales coach Danny Wilson: "We lost to the better side and in the second half they did job on us in contact area and did a job on us at the set piece. We hoped that we had a solution to their driving game and we did for about 50 minutes but in the last 20 or 30 they overpowered us but on top of that what they bring off the bench is far more powerful and when it gets into that kind of game it causes us problems.

THIRD PLACE PLAY-OFF

South Africa coach Dawie Theron: “We were a bit shell-shocked in the beginning of the first half and although we made a good start with a great scrum, we conceded three tries because of our own mistakes. I must admit I was very nervous at that stage, but the players kept going and eventually the momentum turned our way. The boys displayed that typical South African fighting spirit, even when New Zealand threatened to come back near the end. For us, this was such a vital match to win because of the manner in which we lost our semi-final. This was a great contest against a very good New Zealand team, and I am so proud of the boys. Yes, we did not play in the final, but we did manage to beat England, the current Six Nations champions, against France in front of their own supporters and got the better of New Zealand today

South Africa captain Ruan Steenkamp: "We all believe in the World Cup you have to play New Zealand and it was the first time for many of us and I really loved this game and have really just loved everything about the tournament. They came out hard and I just told the boys just be patient, play in the right areas and we will get our points. Be patient and keep working hard."

New Zealand coach Chris Boyd:
"They came back well and 21-0 up I thought probably was enough to put us in a position to win but it wasn't and credit to South Africa. It (fourth place) is unacceptable, we didn't come to the tournament to finish fourth so we are not happy with that."

New Zealand captain Ardie Savea:
"We started off brilliantly, 21 points up and like I guess throughout the tournament we can't just finish it off and finish the teams off, so very disappointed to come fourth. I genuinely think it was individual errors and execution [that let them back], we gave some silly penalties away and that let them back into the game, we talked about momentum and I think we gave them momentum and they went from there."

FIFTH PLACE PLAY-OFF

France captain Paul Jedrasiak: "The spirit was very good, we finish on a good note. Three months ago, no one believed in us and we reach the fifth place and are very happy. We found ourselves again in the second half. I've never experienced such a warm welcome in a stadium, the public was phenomenal. Until the end, we had not lost, we had to believe we could win, we told ourselves not to drop and we won with our heart.

"We have had a very positive World Cup even if we messed up our first match. We lacked for time playing together in international matches but things are changing. Physically and in our game, we have reached a new level, as soon as we train together, we improve. There is no secrets. For me, the France team is a young team. It feels good to finish on such a match, we need to move on but we part on a good note, so I am pleased. This competition helped me reach another level mentally and psychologically. A fifth place is good because we come from very far. I am proud of my group, that I wore the French jersey and I played with these players."

France manager Fabien Pelous:
"We have reached the second objective, to do better than we did last year. I am pleased with the spirit. We've had a tough match to start the competition but since that first match the players have shown a great heart and this is why the public are happy. The match scenario was a bit special but we are rewarded as we did not drop our heads in spite of the score in the first half."

Argentina coach Rodolfo Ambrosio: "A great France team with a big heart and they played great rugby. We also have some heart and gave everything on the pitch but in this kind of match, you win some, you lose some. Today we saw a fantastic public and they kept supporting their team, you could have thought it was the Argentine public."

SEVENTH PLACE PLAY-OFF

Australia captain Curtis Browning: "It's a great experience for all the boys, to play international quality opponents. To finish on a win is a good note to go home on. It’s always good to have a win, and it’s no different today."

Australia coach Adrian Thompson: "I’m happy with the result today, we Would have liked to do better in the tournament, but we’ve shown some good signs of improvement. It’s a great experience – very different from playing in Australia. It's good to come overseas and play different teams. It’s a good learning experience for them.

Ireland coach Mike Ruddock: "At times we played some good rugby, but the break-out try by Australia really nailed the game for them. We’ve no complaints, they beat us fair and square today. They were better than us at the breakdown and took better use of the wind in that first half.

NINTH PLACE PLAY-OFF

Samoa coach Viliamu Punivalu: "All credit to the boys, we had a game plan for Scotland and the boys executed that and all credit goes to them, they have been improving from day one. We made a mess against Wales but they keep coming back and improving in every game, especially in the close game against Scotland (in the pool stages) and we beat Fiji last time and now we have won against Scotland so all credit to the boys, they have been working really hard.

"When we made the campaign in the beginning we set out our goals and one was to maintain or better our ranking and I think we did that today. The boys played for their families, themselves and everyone back home."

Scotland coach Sean Lineen: "What happened, just lots of mistakes, we knew what we had to do and we didn't do it, individuals just didn't bring their A game with them and these things happen, you find out a lot about players in areas like this which is good, this is a World Cup, the guys have worked incredibly hard, the training and the effort they have put in over the nine months I have been involved has been fantastic.

"We came up against a very physical Samoan team who played clever rugby. They have got some good individual, that last try they are good players and they are big and physical and tough and we made it really hard for ourselves which is frustrating.

"We are not quite good enough basically, you can't paper over the cracks, players are hurting we are all hurting, Samoa deserved to win. It is the measure of a man is how you bounce back and we have just got to go back, do our homework and look at how we improve things.

Scotland captain Jonny Gray: "The boys are hurt in the changing rooms but credit to Samoa on the win, they played some clever rugby and played smart throughout the game so well done to them."

11TH PLACE PLAY-OFF

Fiji coach Bill Gadolo: "The game today showed a bit of brilliance and the capability of my team which has not been fully outcoming in all of the games and I guess that’s something we really need to work on and have confidence in doing some things that we learn. I guess today we say glimpses of that and glimpses of things which can be done in a very extraordinary manner.

"I guess this competition is really, really important for us in the sense that from here we are having our boys with no experience playing at Test level so they will go back to the islands and work on it knowing how competitive the game is here compared to the games back in islands. We are very fortunate to be back next year in the JWC. This is a competition that gives us that experience for the boys in the future."

USA coach Jason Kelly: "Very disappointed obviously we were realistic coming in and knew we would probably be in this match. I thought we prepared well in the lead up to the game but all the mistakes in the first half just really kind of cost us. We played a fair amount of rugby in the first half, but didn't take our chances and turnover D and it was just not good enough.

"There are some (positives), I guess it just depends on us as a coaching group and players themselves that when they go back home and if they have learned from this that they apply it in their rugby careers back in the States. If they don't then we have learned nothing, that has to happen for us to progress."

USA captain Tom Bliss: "I think one of the positives that has come from this is the guys know what a professional environment is, they have come up against professional players and they know what they have to do to make that step up so it has been a good learning curve. I have loved every bit of it, from the training camps to the World Cup itself, it has been a great experience. The results haven't gone our way and today was a bit gutting for me personally and as the team because it was targetted as a must-win game, just pretty disappointed."