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VIDEO – Walshe: Nothing to fear for U20s in France

05 June 2013

  • England Under 20s head coach believes his team have a point to prove
  • “Nothing to fear” in opener against France – Walshe


England Under 20s interim head coach Nick Walshe believes the England Under 20s have a point to prove at this year’s Junior World Championship, which kicks off in France later today (June 5).

But despite the team’s disappointing seventh-place finish in South Africa last year, Walshe insists the team performing well is his main aim.

He said: “We’re not looking at where we come. Obviously last year was disappointing, regarding our placing, so I just want to focus on what we’re doing and how we perform.

“If we get some good performances I’ll be happy and then we can leave the results and where we come to themselves.”

“Finishing seventh [last year] wasn’t what we were looking for, so maybe in a way we are looking to prove a point.

“But it’s a new year, it’s a new set of guys and a new focus so we’re not really looking back to last year. We can learn the lessons from it, which we already have done, but now we need to focus on the group stages here because it’s going to be tough.”

It is Walshe’s first Junior World Championship in charge after taking over from previous head coach Rob Hunter; and while he’ll continue using systems Hunter put in place, he is keen to prove himself in his new role.

“There’s still stuff in place from Rob; he was absolutely fantastic, I learnt a lot from him and we worked well together. It gives me a chance to have a go and do some things my way, but we’re not really changing much from the Six Nations.

“We just want to continue and I’m proud to be part of England, just like the players are. I just want to do well for my country.”

Walshe was also keen to emphasise it is the whole team’s performance which will get results, rather than a few stand-out players.

He added: “You can pick out any number of those guys (on the team), but we work together as a team and will hopefully win as a team. We have got some good individuals but individuals won’t win it for us.

And the tournament’s brutal schedule only adds to the need for a whole-squad performance, according to Walshe: “People don’t realise you have to play the first three games within 10 days, you get three days’ recovery before you play again.

“Then you have the semis and the finals; whichever bit [of the tournament] you’re in you get an extra day, but it’s manic, so you have to have the squad and the squad is the most important thing.”

England will be wary of France, who they play in their opening game, despite beating them 40-10 the last time they met in the 6 Nations in February.

Walshe said: “Hopefully it (the Six Nations win in February] will give us confidence and make them wary of us, but everyone knows France are a different team at home. There will be massive support for them so we just need to focus on ourselves, take the confidence from the Six nations and try and get on top early.

“There’s nothing we should fear; we should be really confident and respect them; just do what we do and again, it all comes back to being a team and performing well.

England Under 20s’ opening game against France will be shown live on Sky Sports HD, (kick-off 5.45pm BST).

IRB Junior World Championship schedule (All games live on Sky Sports HD)

Game 1: 
England v France
Wednesday, June 5, 17:45 (GMT), 
Stade Henri Desgrange, La Roche sur Yon

Game 2
: England v South Africa 
Sunday, June 9, 15:45 (GMT)
, Stade Henri Desgrange, La Roche sur Yon

Game 3
: England v USA
Thursday, June 13, 17:45 (GMT), 
Stade Henri Desgrange, La Roche sur Yon

Tuesday, June 18

Final: Sunday, June 23