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Junior World Championship: Pool B Preview

Junior World Championship: Pool B Preview

The Ireland Under-20s, sponsored by PwC, have regular rivals France and Wales along with Fiji as opposition in Pool B of the IRB Junior World Championship. Check out the tournament website’s preview ahead of kick-off in New Zealand on Monday.


Seeding for 2014 JWC: 8
Best finish: Fifth (2012)
Worst finish: Ninth (2008, 2010)
JWC match record: Played 30/Won 14/Lost 16
JWC points/tries scored: 707/73

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JWC graduates: 15 (Dave Kearney, Ian Madigan, Stephen Archer, Jack McGrath, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Simon Zebo, Martin Moore, Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Paddy Jackson, Iain Henderson and Stuart Olding)
Most-capped JWC graduate: Conor Murray (29 Tests – 27 Ireland, 2 Lions)

Did you know?: In 2010, Ireland Under-20 captain Rhys Ruddock became the only player to be called away from a JWC to join up with the senior team. He duly made his Test debut against the Wallabies.

Head coach: Mike Ruddock
Captain: Jack O’Donoghue

One to watch: Jack O’Donoghue
The strong carrying number 8 has taken on the role of captain for the tournament after fellow forward Sean O’Brien was ruled out through injury.

Man-of-the-match in Ireland’s win over Scotland in the Six Nations after a two-try haul, this will be his second Junior World Championship.


Seeding for 2014 JWC: 2
Best finish: Runners-up (2013)
Worst finish: Seventh (2010, 2011)
JWC match record: Played 30/Won 20/Lost 10
JWC points/tries scored: 801/89

JWC graduates: 24
Most-capped JWC graduate: Leigh Halfpenny (55 Tests – Wales 52, Lions 3)

Did you know?: Leigh Halfpenny is something of a trailblazer for JWC graduates, the first to play for the British & Irish Lions (2009), the top Test points scorer (444) and scorer of the most Test points by a Lions players in a single series (49).

Head coach: Byron Hayward
Captain: Steffan Hughes

One to watch: Ashley Evans
The Ospreys winger scored two tries in the 2013 Junior World Championship final, the first after collecting a sublime cross-field kick from Sam Davies – just as he had in the dying seconds of the semi-final against South Africa – but still ended up on the losing side.

A mainstay of the Wales Under-20 squad in 2013, he returned from a spell with Wales on the HSBC Sevens World Series during the Six Nations and his pace and experience will be vital to hopes of success in New Zealand. 


Seeding for 2014 JWC: 5
Best finish: Fourth (2011)
Worst finish: Sixth (2008, 2012)
JWC match record: Played 30/Won 20/Lost 10
JWC points/tries scored: 838/97

JWC graduates: 17
Most-capped JWC graduate: Yoann Maestri (25 Tests)

Did you know?: Pierre Bernard holds the record for most points scored in a single Junior World Championship match with 33 against Wales in the fifth place play-off in 2009.

Head coach: Gérald Bastide
Captain: François Cros

One to watch: Yacouba Camara
It would not have been a surprise had the Toulouse flanker been across the Tasman in Australia with the senior French team, such has been the impression he has made in his first season in the Top 14.

A striking presence on the pitch, Camara was one of France’s best players when they hosted the Junior World Championship in 2013.


Seeding for 2014 JWC: 11
Best finish: Sixth (2011)
Worst finish: 14th (2008 when 16 teams in tournament)
JWC match record: Played  30/Won 8/Lost 22 
JWC points/tries scored: 528/64 

JWC graduates: 11
Most-capped JWC graduate: Niko Matawalu (14 Tests)

Did you know?: The last two tournaments have seen Fiji needing to win on the final day to avoid relegation to the Junior World Rugby Trophy, which they did against Italy and USA.

Head coach: Salimoni Ravouvou
Captain: Akuila Tabualevu

One to watch: Adrea Cocagi
The inside centre has benefited from his time with Top 14 club Stade Français and will bring invaluable experience to the Fijian side from his two years in France. A strong runner, he is also a dependable player in defence.

Related Links –

2014 IRB Junior World Championship

Junior World Championship: Jonah Lomu’s Round 1 Predictions

TG4 To Show Ireland U-20 Games Live From New Zealand