Ireland Under-20 hooker Tom Sexton looks back on the game against New Zealand last week and how the squad are getting on in Japan at the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship.
Everyone in camp went into the New Zealand game quietly confident that we could cause an upset. A considerable amount of analysis was done on them and we knew exactly what our game-plan was.
The first thing that came as a bit of a shock was the pace of the game, it was like nothing we had experienced before.
However, we soon adapted to this and began to impose our own game on the Baby Blacks.
The main point that our coach ‘Clarkie’ (Allen Clarke) had stressed before the game was that we could not afford to sit back and that it was crucial we took it to New Zealand.
This was the most pleasing aspect of the performance that we showed a fearlessness and work ethic which, with a bit more luck, could have handed us victory.
Unfortunately we failed to finish off our opportunities, losing an incredibly competitive match 17-0.
The following day there were two activities organised. The first was the legacy programme, Davy McGregor was warned to put on factor 50 suncream for fear that he would become a fried egg!
Shane Gahan came very close to missing the bus for this as he was on skype to his girlfriend for over two hours. Apparently she made him stay on! I think it’s pretty clear who is calling the shots in that relationship!
The other option was a tour of the Toyota factory in Toyota city which was a very interesting experience.
Martin Joyce presented a Munster jersey to the factory which (nearly) all the squad signed, however the only person not to sign it was ironically the only Munster player who went on the trip!
Andrew Burke conveniently decided to take a little nap down the back of the bus! Maybe it had something to do with them no longer being Heineken Cup champions! Some people have even noticed him wearing shorts with what looks suspiciously like a Leinster harp!
Danny Barnes had to abandon his grilfriend in London to travel to Japan as a late call-up for the injured Nevin Spence. If you’re reading this, he hopes you’re okay!
That night we went out for dinner to an Italian restaurant. Many of the players claimed they had never waited so long for food in their lives!
Four players got their first starts for Ireland Under-20s in our final pool game against Uruguay – Joe Moran (a popular man with the ladies in Connacht!), Danny Barnes, Davy McGregor and David O’Callaghan.
The game proved to be a superb performance winning 45-0 with Dave Kearney (whose social reputation was recently destroyed by a broken nose) grabbing two tries.
With New Zealand beating Argentina, we are moving on to Fukuoka to fight for fifth place.
It may not be what we set out to achieve but we will give everything to make sure we end this fantastic tournament on a high!
Tom Sexton (Chunks)