England 21 South Africa 20: We deserve to retain title, declares Itoje

England 21 South Africa 20: Maro Itoje says the Red Rose deserve the Junior World Championship title

By Sportsbeat
South Africa

Maro Itoje insists England got what they deserved after he led them to a successful defence of their Junior World Championship title in New Zealand.

The hosts were the only country to ever defend the crown but they were beaten by South Africa in the semi-finals, who set up a showdown with England at Eden Park.

And the reigning champions edged a nerve-jangling clash 21-20, through tries from Itoje’s Saracens teammate Nathan Earle and Exeter Chiefs flanker Joel Conlon.

We have a fantastic squad and fantastic coaches; they’re just awesome boys

Maro Itoje

South Africa’s Jesse Kriel scored two tries for his side, who threw everything they had at England for the full 80 minutes, but Nick Walshe’s troops came out on top.

“It’s an amazing feeling; we have been working so hard,” said captain Itoje. “It’s just joy, this has been a fantastic experience for us, our boys worked so hard and we got what we deserved.

“We believed that if we stayed to our principles and stayed to the plan we’d do well and we did, we won the World Cup.

“We have a fantastic squad and fantastic coaches; they’re just awesome boys.”
And Gloucester fly-half Billy Burns saluted a tremendous squad effort against a tough South African side.

“They’re big physical guys and they really brought it to us,” he said. “We felt at half time we were in a good place but we still needed to push on and to come out and to give that performance I give all credit to the boys.

“It’s a full 23 effort and the boys off the bench made a big impact, to get over the finishing line is a real achievement and I’m really happy.

“That last 20 minutes was nail biting and to get through it is a massive achievement.

“All credit to the boys, we deserved that. We’ve worked hard all campaign it’s been tough but to come through and win something at the end of it just shows how hard we’ve worked so it’s real satisfying.”


MORE: Have your say on Facebook

MORE: The latest football news

MORE: The latest tennis news

The Sport Review
Friendly rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer celebrate ‘the great memories we shared’
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
The Sport Review
Diego Costa reacts to Michy Batshuayi’s display for Chelsea v Watford
The Sport Review
Owen Hargreaves: Man United star is the best in the world
The Sport Review
Alexis Sanchez: What I really think about Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal