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Vunipola and Armitage look ahead to JWC final

25 June 2011

  • England U20 pair Mako Vunipola and Guy Armitage discuss JWC final
  • There’s a lot of excitement building up in the camp – Armitage
England Under 20 prop Mako Vunipola on the charge during the Junior World Championship semi final victory over France

Photo: Getty Images

On the eve on England U20's Junior World Championship final against New Zealand in Padova, two of the stand out performers from the semi-final against France, Saracens prop Mako Vunipola and London Irish centre Guy Armitage, say that the the final will be the pinnacle of their fledgling careers.

England beat northern hemisphere rivals France 33-18 in the semi, with tries from Christian Wade, George Ford, Ben Ransom and skipper Alex Gray, and will face New Zealand in the final for the third time in four years.

Vunipola accepts that France put up a fight, and knows that the final will be a huge test: “We went into the game knowing that France would be up for it, and they were," he said. "We played them in the 6 Nations but they upped their game for the semi-final and gave us a scare, but overall our hard work paid off."

Vunipola added: “New Zealand in the final will be a huge test for all of us, but they’re beatable – every team is beatable, no one has a right to win a game. It’s our last game together as a group so we will be leaving absolutely everything out on the pitch and hopefully that will be enough, we’re just going to go for it.”

Armitage, brother of Seniors full back Delon, started his first game for the U20s against the French, and while he says that it was a baptism of fire, the 20-year-old is sure that the experience will stand him in good stead.

England Under 20 centre Guy Armitage gets into defensive position

Photo: Getty Images

“It was a great honour to be named in the starting line up for the semi, I enjoyed every minute of it. Having played France in the 6 Nations we weren’t totally in the dark about what they were about, but it was important not to get complacent and I think we showed real professionalism with our performance, we got the job done and we look ahead to the final now.

Looking ahead to the final against the Baby Blacks, Armitage added: “New Zealand did very well in their group stages, but Argentina and Australia have both given them good games, so we’ll be studying the videos and plotting a game plan to try and beat them – it’s a huge game for us and there’s a lot of excitement in the camp.

“I got a good luck text from Delon before the game yesterday which was a nice touch, and I’m pleased for him to be named in the initial training squad ahead of the seniors World Cup, but for now I’m focusing on our final!”