IRB Junior World Championship
Whitelock delights in "awesome" victory
ESPNscrum Staff
June 26, 2011
New Zealand captain Luke Whitelock lifts the IRB JWC trophy, England v New Zealand, IRB Junior World Championship, Stadio Plebiscito, Padova, Italy, June 26, 2011
New Zealand captain Luke Whitelock lifts the IRB Junior World Championship trophy © Getty Images

New Zealand captain Luke Whitelock was full of praise for his side after they battled past England 33-22 to claim the IRB Junior World Championship crown for the fourth successive year.

Whitelock, a member of the New Zealand side that claimed the title in Argentina last year, was proud to see the Baby Blacks retain their 100 percent record and extend their winning run in the tournament to 20 victories - dating back to the inaugural tournament in 2008.

"This is awesome to keep the winning streak going, we have been working hard it is great to get the victory," he said. "We had to sort out our set pieces, we struggled sometimes but we made opportunities and scored from them which was good.

"England came out well, we defended a lot in the period and they got some early points and build a lot of pressure. We built nicely, it was still far from a top performance but it's finals footy and all that matters is we won."

Coach Mark Anscombe paid tribute to the way his side defended in the second half when they came under pressure from England. "We didn't start off very well. They took the game to us but I was really pleased with the way we played the last 20-25 minutes of the first half," he said.

"But in the second half we forgot to play rugby. We made some poor decisions, kept turning it over but we showed a lot of character and heart and willpower to keep them out. That's a very good England team and they really took it to us they beat us in a lot of areas today but we showed a little bit of character out there today and hung in there."

England captain Alex Gray was gracious in defeat having seen his side come agonisingly close to ending New Zealand's reign. "It was a tough battle and I imagine it was quite good watching. We came here thinking we could take it and if things had been different way we could have done, but congratulations to New Zealand, they showed they are a class team and good luck to them.

"That was my last game in an England U20 jersey and it's a shame we couldn't end with a win, but we gave it everything and can be proud with ourselves, it's been an honour playing with these lads. There's no tomorrow for me, but I'm sure that the boys will give it their best shot next year."

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