Thursday, June 11, 2009
The Junior World Championship has captured the imagination of rugby fans across Japan as Under 20 sides from around the world compete for the title of the best team at that age group.
While most of the players taking part are inexperienced youngsters who are getting their first taste of international competition, there are some who have already taken the leap into professional rugby.
World Series Sevens, Guinness Premiership, and Super 14 players are all represented at the tournament, adding to the interest levels and the quality of play.
Last years champions New Zealand took on Ireland at the Mizuho Rugby Ground in Nagoya, but from the start Ireland showed that they were not to be intimidated by one of the most consistently powerful junior sides around.
As is commonplace these days, Ireland challenged the Haka, but perhaps went a bit overboard as they were practically standing on the players before it was over.
They were out to make a point, and they did just that as they match was confrontational and competitive, but they were no match for the might of the Baby Blacks, who won 17-0.
Did the young Irishmen take things a bit too far? Was Zac Guildford out of line for lashing out at the end? Or was it all perfectly fine and just another part of rugby theatre? We're keen to hear what you think.