- Jonah Lomu admits there's real pressure on New Zealand
- There's always pressure, but the rugby will be great – Lomu
Ambassador for the IRB Junior World Championship and All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu told RFU.com that Under 20s rugby is quite simply rugby at its best and rawest form.
Speaking at the launch of the tournament in Auckland, Lomu said: “I’m hoping to see some fantastic rugby played over the course of the next few weeks.
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"The Under 20s is rugby at its rawest form – they have patterns and things but the players are just willing to have a crack which is great to see. I’m looking forward to it – absolutely looking forward to it.”
England U20 skipper Callum Braley – also at the launch – said: “There’s a sense of excitement among the captains, we’ve had a great welcome from the locals but now it’s down to business.”
Holders England broke the northern hemisphere stranglehold on the trophy winning it in France last season, beating New Zealand on the way to the final. Lomu admits that there’s a real pressure on the host nation, particularly as it’s the one trophy “missing from the cabinet”.
Photo: RFU Archive
He added: “It’s a tough ask, it’s a tough tournament but the pressure the players put on themselves will be immense, but it’ll be great to see how close these teams are.”
Braley added: “It was a massive honour to meet Jonah Lomu, and the fact that he’s an ambassador for the tournament shows that the competition is held in such high regard. New Zealand will have pressure, but so do we, our pressure isn’t to win, it’s to perform well in each of our five games.”