Legend of the game
A legend of the game since bursting onto the international rugby scene for the All Blacks in 1995, Lomu is the perfect ambassador and role model for the annual Under 20 tournament taking place in Auckland – New Zealand’s ‘City of Sails’ from 2 – 20 June, 2014.
“It’s exciting and a great privilege to be an ambassador for the IRB Junior World Championship this year. I’m really looking forward to watching some great rugby and welcoming the stars of the future to New Zealand in June.” Lomu said.
“Playing at under-age level for New Zealand helped me to showcase my skills and talents, and really developed me as a player. The game has, of course, changed since then, but the pathway that an Under 20 tournament like the JWC (Junior World Cup) can give to young players is crucial.”
“Some of these players are already making their names in club rugby around the world, and it will be great to watch them showcase their skills for their national teams at this year’s JWC. It’s going to be really competitive and fans travelling to Auckland are in for a real treat,” the former All Black added.
Currently held by 2013 champions England, the tournament gained international attention in April 2014 when the distinctive trophy was handed over to New Zealand by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge during the royal couple’s recent tour of New Zealand.
Since its formation in 2008, almost 300 players have made the step from Junior World Cup to the test arena, including All Black fly-half Aaron Cruden, British and Irish Lions and Wales captain Sam Warburton, Australia’s Quade Cooper, England’s Owen Farrell, Ireland’s Conor Murray, France’s Yoann Maestri and South African lock forward Eben Etzebeth.
Hosts New Zealand will be looking to reclaim their crown after winning the first four IRB Junior World Championships, with South Africa beating them in the final in 2012.
The premier Under 20 tournament takes place in Auckland from 2 – 20 June 2014, with matches played at QBE Stadium in North Harbour and the ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe.
The final on 20 June will be played at Eden Park, Auckland’s premium sporting arena that has seen plenty of world-class rugby talent play on its turf, including the 2011 Rugby World Cup winning All Blacks.