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We're strong condenders to go one better, says England U20 star Homer

02 June 2010

  • Points machine ready for Junior World Championship
  • We've got more variety this time, says London Irish star
Tom Homer

Photo: Getty Images

Tom Homer made a major impact as the leading points-scorer at last year's IRB Junior World Championship in Tokyo.

The London Irish full back and wing kicked 68 points as England saw off hosts Japan, Scotland, Samoa and South Africa before being beaten 44-28 by New Zealand in the final.

Homer arrived in Argentina yesterday for the 2010 tournament as a key man in England's bid for a first global title at Under 20 level after successive defeats against the Baby Blacks.

The side - coached by Mark Mapletoft and Rob Hunter - kick off their campaign against Argentina in Rosario on Saturday, June 5 and face Ireland and France before the knock-out stages take place on June 17 and 21.

Erasing the disappointment of finishing as runners-up is one target, but Homer believes England have more attacking options available to them this time round after finishing the Under 20 RBS 6 Nations on a high by posting their highest ever total in beating France 47-33 away from home.

"If I look back on last year's tournament it's mainly to the final itself and you feel really down because we'd worked so hard only to fall short," said Homer.

Homer dives over to score during the Heineken Cup match between Scarlets and London Irish

Photo: Getty Images

"Overall, though, I enjoyed the event enormously. The environment was great, the games come thick and fast and physically it's really demanding.

"This season we've brought a lot of variety into our game. We've got all sorts of things we can use to attack the opposition. There's a huge amount of talent in the squad and if we perform as we can we're definitely strong contenders.

"We've got different players with different attributes and we play to those strengths. We want to change the point of attack every time and never strike in the same place twice."

At 20, Homer already has more than 30 first team appearances for his club behind him, making him the most experienced professional in the England U20 camp.

He picks out two of this season's games as career highlights - he scored all London Irish's points in a 35-22 defeat against Bath in February, then faced a childhood hero when they beat Leinster 12-9 in Dublin.

I've really enjoyed the opportunities - Homer

"I'm still in the academy and last year wasn't expecting to play a single game so have played 33 already is a real bonus," said Homer.

"It's all happened really quickly for me and another season has really flown past. I've really enjoyed the opportunities I've had and in the game against Bath - even though we lost - probably produced one of my best performances.

"It was good to be back in the Heineken Cup. I'd always wanted to play in that and even though we lost twice to Scarlets we won away against Leinster, which was one of the highlights of our season. I watched Brian O'Driscoll growing up and he's one of my heroes, so playing against him was something special."

Homer is joined in Argentina by two London Irish teammates in flanker Jamie Gibson and wing Marcus Watson, who both appeared in the final two matches of the Six Nations campaign.

Oxford University student Gibson scored twice against France and Watson touched down against Scotland and France, and he claimed his place in the 26-man squad when Leicester's Will Hurrell was ruled out with a back injury.