France, June 23, 2013: After a thrilling final in north west France on Sunday, England are the 2013 IRB Junior World Champions.
It was heartbreak for their opponents Wales, who led 15-3 until just before the hour mark, but failed to capitalise when England were reduced to 14 men for the first 10 minutes of the second half.
The England fight back was helped by tries from Jack Nowell and Sam Hill in the second half and two penalties from fly half Henry Slade, which put the match out of the reach of the Welsh.
Earlier in the day, supporters in the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes were treated to a classic third-place play off, as South Africa faced New Zealand in a repeat of last year’s JWC final. Despite being behind 21-0 at one point, the Junior Boks fought back to beat their rivals 41-34.
In the other games of the day, France beat Argentina to finish in fifth place, Australia finished in seventh after beating Ireland, Samoa defeated Scotland to ensure ninth and USA were relegated to the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy after they were beaten by Fiji in Nantes.
Speaking after the final whistle in Vannes, IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “What an incredible tournament it has been here in the north west of France.”
“For the sixth year in a row, the IRB Junior World Championship has delivered brilliant matches, we’ve seen some magnificent skills on display and fans have witnessed top quality matches with open, running rugby.”
“I extend my congratulations to the English who fought back very well against an impressive Welsh side to win the trophy.”
Since 2008, the IRB Junior World Championship has provided the springboard for more than 230 players to graduate to the Test arena, including 2013 British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, as well as a host of stars around the world.