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World Championship win only the start for Hepburn

We caught up with Alec Hepburn who featured in England's historic Junior World Championship win.

Last weekend, England U20s were crowned IRB Junior World Championship winners for the first time after beating Wales 23-15 at Stade de la Rabine.

London Wasps duo Alec Hepburn and Nathan Morris both featured for England throughout the tournament, with loosehead prop Hepburn getting the nod to start in the Final on Sunday.

Hepburn, who progresses into the London Wasps Senior Squad this season, had an injury-plagued 2012/13 season, returning to full fitness just in time to earn his place on the plane to France.

The reality of starting the Final and winning the Championship is clearly something that will take a while for him to really get his head around.

"I don’t think it has really sunk in yet, but it definitely feels a lot better to win than come seventh like we did last year and the plane journey was a very different atmosphere on the way home!"

"It was a pretty low year for me injury-wise leading up to the Junior World Championships and with Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi playing well I felt lucky to get picked for the squad. To then get the nod for the Final and to come away with the win is something I am more than happy about!"

A disappointing loss to South Africa meant that England had an uphill battle to get through to the Semi Final stages, where they faced New Zealand, a team never beaten by this England age group.

"Within the group we were really disappointed after the South Africa game, we felt hard done by and had to get ourselves back in the game to get the points. We got given a second chance against the USA and managed to get the bonus point victory we needed. We wanted to express ourselves and put in a good performance, we felt we hadn’t put in a solid performance yet and we managed to, record or not."

"Everyone was really looking forward to the New Zealand Semi Final. It doesn’t take very much to get up for a game like that and everyone stuck to the script and played an absolutely brilliant game which got us safely through to the Final."

The Final itself wasn't quite as smooth as it could have been, with England going in at halftime with a 12 point deficit. But Hepburn maintains that the team always had the potential to go far if they could pull together a good performance.

"I was feeling terrible going into halftime having just thrown an intercept pass, but I think the overall mood wasn’t too bad. We knew the Welsh were good but as long as we got to play our patterns we also knew that we would have a good crack at taking it and we thankfully managed to turn the tide."

"We knew the Welsh would be our toughest game. They were hard done by in the Six Nations and the English were one up on them so obviously this was a big game up for grabs. I’m sure they were out looking for revenge and it was unlucky for them again because they played a fantastic game and it could have gone either way."

This successful tournament is a big boost to Hepburn who is now looking forward to the new season back at London Wasps.

"I was really keen to get some game time before next season and looking forward to getting fit. Thankfully I managed to play a couple of games with the U20s to test out my knee and see how it feels. Now that I have got a few games under my belt I am able to look towards next season. I’m now really looking forward to hopefully progressing and learning in the Wasps set up."

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