Jones delighted by JWC win

We caught up with Gus Jones after a busy summer in which he helped England U20s regain the Junior World Championship trophy.

Gus Jones featured heavily for England U20s in their successful Junior World Championship campaign in New Zealand this summer and the 20-year-old says that the win in the final will give the whole squad a great platform from which they can launch their professional careers.

“For me, winning the tournament is an incredible reward for all of the work that went into creating those performances. A lot of teams work hard to give a good account of themselves and just miss out on the day and I think that we are very fortunate that we get to come home world champions. I think more that in reality, the experience that we gained from being in that high pressure environment will probably be worth more in the long run but it’s still pretty special to be able to call yourself a world champion.”

“I came off at half time with a head injury so was a bit delirious on the sideline as it went down to the wire. In retrospect I think this was a bit of a blessing being able to watch the final part of the game, there were definitely a few nerves jangling!”

England went into the tournament with a lot of expectation, their predecessors having won the competition the previous year. However, Jones says that weight of expectation didn’t really make it into what he describes as a close-knit group.

“I don’t think that being the holders affected us very much. Only seven of the squad were returning players from last year’s JWC and our team were yet to win anything at all. I think England teams will always have a target on their backs but we were confident that we could beat any team in that competition and whether we were expected to or not was irrelevant.”

In recent seasons the England U20 side has taken clear steps forward, with Stuart Lancaster’s Senior England setup keen to fast-track the talented youngsters who take part. Jones says the example set by the likes of Joe Launchbury, Christian Wade and Elliot Daly, who have gone on to be involved in the senior side, is a huge boost.

“It’s very encouraging to see that the senior management have no fear in picking young players and I think that English rugby will benefit from that. At the same time, those players that have stepped up are all special talents and have proved themselves in the Aviva Premiership, playing against top quality opposition, so personally there is still a long way to go before I start worrying about breaking through into that setup!”