JWC 2011 launch: Team leaders have their say
Captain Brian Ormson: “We are aware we have a difficult schedule, facing Wales, Italy and New Zealand in the first three matches. We trained hard before arriving in Italy, playing many friendly matches. Here in Italy we continue to work hard to match the commitment. Our goal is to beat Wales and Italy and then do our best against the Baby Blacks. We are a team playing an attacking style of rugby, I think this is our best weapon, and we also have players of great quality.”
Coach David Nucifora: “The thing about coming to the world championship is for the players to experience the different types of rugby that different teams from around the world play. It becomes quite sterile if you only play the same type of footy against the same opponents all the time so it’s a great experience in that aspect.
“We’ve had 13 in the last three years go through to Wallaby level and that’s part of what we try to do. We try to develop and promote and challenge our young players to get there. They boys that get selected in this team know that this is a serious and very genuine part of the pathway to go up to the highest level.”
Captain Colby Faingaa: “We managed to get to the final, which was a plus. Obviously we didn’t win, but just getting there was the experience of a lifetime and hopefully this year we can do the same and maybe do one better.
“A lot of the boys ... after last year’s game were quite upset. We’re going to use that as a motive to play even harder than last year, but with only seven or eight boys returning we’ve still got a new, fresh team.”
Captain Jean Marc Doussain: “It will be a matter of keeping the momentum and the relationships that were formed during the Under 20 Six Nations. What matters is playing, being on the ground. Changing [from Toulouse to France so quickly] is not such a problem, the enthusiasm of participating at a Junior World Championship takes away any doubt."
Captain Niall Annett: “The target is to win the tournament. It would be unprofessional and we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t believe we could.
“We’re trying to bring a new generation of Irish rugby to the forefront, so we’ll give it our best shot if we at some point met the New Zealanders.”
Coach Andrea Cavinato: “Certainly for Italy it will be a very tough World Championship. We will learn the growth of our rugby and playing at home is a double-edged sword: on one side this can motivate but it can also put a lot of pressure."
Captain Piermaria Leso: “I’m a Veneto, and playing in my region in front of my family is very exciting. The first match will be tough, however we are ready for this challenge, the Baby Blacks are definitely the strongest team in the world.
“Last year we won the Junior World Rugby Trophy and we won the right to participate in the Junior World Championship. The goal now is to stay in this competition.”
Coach Mark Anscombe: “I’ve been involved in the team the three previous years and know what is expected and what it has taken to be successful. It doesn’t matter who coaches them, the expectation is always pretty high on New Zealand teams to be successful and to do well at tournaments like this.
“I think the normal ones will all be there again. Australia will be very strong again, England are getting stronger and stronger each year. I don’t know a lot about France but they will always be competitive. South Africa seem to have put a lot into their [preparations], they’ve been on tour. Then you’ve got the Irish and the Welsh who you can never take for granted and you’ve got to be on your game to beat them.”
Captain Luke Whitelock: “We’re taking it [the first game against Italy] very seriously. We realise that when people play for their country, and especially at home, they can grow another arm and a leg.”
Coach Dawie Theron: “At this moment in time we are very positive but the proof of the pudding lies in the eating. We’ve got to get out there and play.
“This might be one of the toughest competitions there is. You’ve only got a three-day turnaround time, and we’ve only got 26 players as well, so you can’t have any passengers here. You’ve got to pick it right and use the guys wisely. If you’re just going to try to get through it with 15 stars, you’re definitely going to end up a bit short."
Captain Mesui Vea: “We worked hard for two months and I think this team has a good chance of succeeding. The first match will be very challenging, against Australia in the last edition they reached the final with New Zealand. The next matches with France and Fiji will be just as tough, but this is the Junior World Championship and is a great privilege to participate. France has a very strong three-quarter line, all playing in the French Top 14, a Championship that we follow very closely because many Tongans players participate. Fiji is a team that we encounter often, so we do not expect surprises.”
Captain Macauley Cook: “We didn’t have a thrilling Six Nations, we lost, even if slightly, to England and France and drew with Ireland. But this belongs to the past, now we must show that the work done in recent months has paid off. We will face Argentina in the first match and they could be one of the surprises of the World Championship, a very solid team from a physical and technical point of view. They play a rugby different from what we see and usually play in Europe so will be something to be reckoned with.”