Two former pupils from Whitgift School in South Croydon could be playing in a World Cup final on Sunday, after the England under-20s side beat France 33-20 in the semi-final of the Junior World Championships being staged in Italy.
England, this year’s Six Nations winners, will now meet the formidable junior All Blacks in Padova’s Stadio Plebiscito.
Elliot Daly and Marland Yarde were both prominent in Whitgift’s under-18s Daily Mail Cup victory in 2010, with outside centre Daly also playing in his school’s historic second Twickenham win this year. This season both have made their senior rugby debuts in the Premiership, Daly for Wasps and lightning fast wing Yarde at London Irish.
Neither got to play in Wednesday’s semi-final: having been an ever-present in the England side all year, 18-year-old Daly was rested after picking up a knock in the quarter-final against South Africa in the hope that he will be fully recovered for the final; Yarde had started two previous games in the tournament and come off the bench in another, and so will also be considered for selection when England’s final XV is named on Saturday.
The England team’s captain, Newcastle player Alex Gray, spoke for all the players today when he said: “To be involved in any final is a massive honour, the boys have worked so hard to get to where we are. We started out as a group back in September with the ultimate aim of winning both the Six Nations and the Junior World Championships.
“We can’t wait for the final now – New Zealand have an aura about them but they definitely aren’t unbeatable. They sweat, they bleed – they’re human, so if we go out there with the right game plan then I’m confident we can give them a run for their money. A final is a one off game, it’s all or nothing rugby and we’ve got a chance.”
- Praise for sporty Whitgift School – from the Daily Mail (insidecroydon.wordpress.com)
- Croydon cricket fans face 40% price hike for T20 match (insidecroydon.wordpress.com)