JWC2013 Pool B preview: NZ, Ireland, Australia and Fiji
irb.com and James Mortimer 06 Jun 2013 Getty Images
Seeding for JWC 2013: 2
Best finish: Champions (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Worst finish: Runners-up (2012)
JWC match record: Played 25 / Won 23 / Lost 2
JWC points/tries scored: 1,141 / 156
JWC graduates: 9
Most capped JWC graduate: Sam Whitelock (39 Tests)
Did you know...? Three members of New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup 2011 winning side had cut their teeth on the JWC stage in Sam Whitelock, 2009 captain Aaron Cruden and all-time joint top try-scorer Zac Guildford.
Coach: Chris Boyd
Captain: Ardie Savea
One to watch: Ardie Savea
Highly regarded by All Blacks Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens, Savea is expected to follow his brother Julian into the All Blacks squad in the not too distant future and coach Steve Hansen labelled his Super Rugby debut earlier this year as “pretty special”. A dynamic flanker with quick feet and great acceleration, if he makes anywhere near the impact as his older brother – top try scorer and IRB Junior Player of the Year in 2010 – then New Zealand could reclaim the title they won from 2008 to 2011.
Seeding for JWC 2013: 5
Best finish: Fifth (2012)
Worst finish: Ninth (2008, 2010)
JWC match record: Played 25 / Won 12 / Lost 13
JWC points/tries scored: 591 / 61
JWC graduates: 10
Most capped JWC graduate: Conor Murray (19 Tests)
Did you know...? In 2010, Ireland captain Rhys Ruddock became the only player to be called away from a JWC to join up with the senior team. He duly made his debut against the Wallabies.
Coach: Mike Ruddock
Captain: Luke McGrath
One to watch: Tom Daly
England fans will not forget his name after he held his nerve to kick a late match-winning conversion against the defending champions in the Six Nations earlier this year. A powerful – and tall at 6ft 4in – centre, Daly is a constant threat to opposing defences and his partnership in the middle with Rory Scannell could be the catalyst for the backline to spark into life and set them on the road to causing another upset
Seeding for JWC 2013: 8
Best finish: Runners-up (2010)
Worst finish: Eighth (2012)
JWC match record: Played 25 / Won 15 / Lost 10
JWC points/tries scored: 892 / 128
JWC graduates: 19
Most capped JWC graduate: David Pocock (46 Tests)
Did you know...? Five of the top 10 most capped JWC graduates are Australian in David Pocock, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale and James Slipper.
Coach: Adrian Thompson
Captain: Curtis Browning
One to watch: Curtis Browning
An imposing figure on the pitch, Browning was named Australian Under 20 Player of the Year in 2012 and returns for his second Junior World Championship as captain, succeeding his Queensland Reds teammate Liam Gill. The grandson of former Wallaby Dick Marks, Browning made his Super Rugby debut this year and has also captained the Queensland Reds College XV during the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup against the A teams of Tonga and Japan.
Seeding for JWC 2013: 11
Best finish: Sixth (2011)
Worst finish: 14th (2008 – when 16 teams in tournament)
JWC match record: Played 25 / Won 7 / Lost 18
JWC points/tries scored: 443 / 52
JWC graduates: 8
Most capped JWC graduates: Nikola Matawalu and Waisea Nailago (9 Tests)
Did you know...?
Coach: Bill Gadolo
Captain: Esikia Macu
One to watch: Marika Vunibaka
If natural talent runs in a family then Marika Vunibaka will be one to watch, his uncle of the same having starred for Fiji at both Fifteens and Sevens, winning two of the three Rugby World Cup Sevens he played at. This Vunibaka plays in the back row not on the wing but could be one to watch around the breakdown if a gap appears.