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"We're ready for South Africa challenge," says Clifford

07 June 2013

  • England Under 20s Clifford looking forward to SA clash
  • We have a point to prove against them – Clifford
Jack Clifford in action for England against South Africa in 2012

Photo: Getty Images

England Under 20s captain Jack Clifford says that his side has a point to prove when they play South Africa in the IRB Junior World Championship in France on Sunday afternoon, kick off 15:45 (GMT) live on Sky Sports HD.

England beat France 30-6 in their opening game of this year's tournament, but Clifford was part of the England team that went down 28-15 to the Baby Boks in last year’s competition in Cape Town – knocking England out of the JWC, and the Harlequins No. 8 is well aware of the challenge in store.

He said: “We know that it’s going to be an extremely tough game against them – they put 97 points on the USA in their opening match so they’ll be full of confidence.

“They outplayed us last year and we have a point to prove against them this time around – that’s not us being over confident, we just know that we didn’t perform last year and this is a good chance to right a couple of those wrongs. We have the utmost respect for them – they’re defending champions for a reason and it’s going to be a real challenge.”

South Africa beat New Zealand 22-16 in last year’s final and touched down 16 times in their opening game against the Americans, but Clifford says that the strength of the England squad will stand them in good stead.

He added: “There’s a real unity in our camp – we all get on with each other off the pitch as well as on it, and we have got each other’s backs. We’ll need to be on top of our game to beat South Africa, but if we perform like I know we can then I’m confident we can do well.”