- England Under 20 lock Dom Barrow takes us inside the camp
- Beating Italy, facing the Baby Boks and Table Mountain
Photo: Getty Images
On a wet and very muddy Stellenbosch pitch we made it two from two against a very tough Irish outfit. At half time we were on the ropes, 15-3 down and outscored by two tries to nil, but we dug in and showed outstanding character to tough it out and earn a crucial win. The victory puts us in a good position heading into the massive clash against the Baby Boks today.
The Irish are always very committed and physical and that encounter was no different. They played the conditions well and took their chances. There were some frank and honest words said at half time but to a man we responded and the character shown was unbelievable. To nil a team of that calibre in the second half is no mean feat and the forwards took control scoring a penalty try and a pushover try to seal the win.
Many of the boys have said that Friday night’s pitch was the worst they have ever played on. Six games of rugby in eight days plus a little bit of wet weather is never good for a rugby pitch, but credit to the IRB who have reacted immediately by moving the venues of the fixtures to Newlands and Cape Town Stadium. It will be a great experience to play in these arenas; all we need now is 65,000 people to fill them!
Photo: RFU Archive
On the subject of support, it has been great to see locals turning out to watch the games. School children around the area in particular have been out in force and their constant singing and chanting has made for a lively atmosphere in the two fixtures we’ve played so far.
Large contingents of them seem to have adopted England and have cheered us on throughout the games, which I know the boys really appreciate. Hopefully they won’t change their minds now we’re up against the host nation.
We had the day off on Saturday after the Ireland game and in between all our various reviews and recovery strategies we managed to squeeze in a trip up Table Mountain.
If you can handle the steepness of the cable car and how it looks for all eternity like your going to smash into the cliff face at any given moment, the views from the top are sensational. We all had a great day out and a lot of the lads are talking about making sure we go up again before we leave Cape Town at the end of the month.
Photo: RFU Archive
So all is to play for in our final pool match against South Africa. We can ensure qualification to the semi finals with a win, however South Africa were very professional in their defeat of Italy and can still progress should results go their way.
We know just how tough it will be in front of a partisan crowd having experienced a sell-out in France earlier this season. Hopefully that will stand us in good stead and we can get the result we desire and have worked so hard for.
I’d like to finally mention our joint top try scorer in the Junior World Championship so far, none other than tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler! He has worked incredibly hard in recent months to get into great shape for this tournament and is reaping the rewards now.
It was certainly a sight for soar eyes seeing him kicking the ball ahead and chasing up the wing in the 75th minute against Ireland!
In all seriousness though, he has put in two great performances so far and hopefully he can keep his rich vein of form going for the remaining fixtures. His efforts of late have epitomized the attitude within this squad and hopefully it’ll all be worth it at the end of the day.
You can watch our vital last pool match against South Africa on Sky Sports HD 2 later today from 5.30pm and you can also follow me on Twitter: @dominicbarrow.
Thanks for reading, Dom