Dewi Morris praises England's Junior World Championship triumph
And predicts a bright future for the team
Last Updated: 20/06/14 1:49pm
Dewi Morris hailed England’s aptitude and ability to seize their chance to beat South Africa and retain the Junior World Cup in Auckland.
England under-20s were under severe pressure for much of the first half but a long-range penalty from Aaron Morris followed by a try from Nathan Earle just before the break ensured they went into half-time with a one-point advantage.
A good side responds when they are under pressure and that is what will have delighted the coaches and Stuart Lancaster, who is out there watching
Their overall performance improved in the second half and they extended their lead with a try from substitute Joel Conlon, which was converted by Billy Burns, who had already landed two penalties.
South Africa, though, fought back with two tries from centre Jessie Kriel and it took a huge defensive effort in the closing stages for Nick Walshe’s side to defend their crown.
“There is a lot of talent there, a lot of raw talent,” he told Sky Sports. “As a collective the team performed. They came back from a very, very bad start and they just got over the line.
“These guys will get bigger and better and they will go forward and play for their representative teams. It is a great experience for them and they have won. They have won something tangible; they have won a World Cup.
“If they win don't anything else in lives they can look back at this and say, ‘do you remember that night in Auckland when we did it?’ Brilliant.”
The former England scrum-half picked Aaron Morris’ huge long-range penalty as the turning point in the game and the moment England seized control of the match.
“They needed something,” the Sky Sports pundit said. “They were dropping the ball, they were tapping and going when they shouldn't do, the lineout was not great so they could not get any territory or any foot in the game. South Africa had them under pressure in the scrum, they were nicking the ball and the collisions were going South Africa’s way.
“That [penalty] seemed to lift them and then that try straight after meant they went in one point up when really the Boks were supremely more efficient and should have gone in 10 points up. But they didn’t. That is why it is a funny old game.
“Credit to England and the coaches. They sorted it out in the second half. The lineout was fixed, it was still a tight game. Two great tries from Kriel asked the question but again a good side responds when they are under pressure and that is what will have delighted the coaches and Stuart Lancaster, who is out there watching. These guys have got a great future.”
Of all the impressive performances from England, Dewi Morris picked England skipper Maro Itoje as the star of the tournament and was surprised that the Saracens lock did not pick the IRB award, which went to South Africa’s Handre Pollard.
He said: “One person I would have to say would have been my IRB player of the season would have been Maro Itoje, the captain. Why he was not on that list I do not know. He has been outstanding for England in the Six Nations and outstanding in this competition and he should have been there.”