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Champion Under 20 team arrive back in NZ

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NZPA     26 Jun 2008     Getty Images

Guildford and his teammates touched down at Auckland airport today, bringing with them the under-20 trophy they claimed after dispatching England 38-3 in the final in Swansea at the weekend.

Asked if the silverware went some way to easing the disappointment of the All Blacks' early exit in last year's World Cup, he said: "I guess it does in some way.

Guildford said it was a huge honour to win the tournament and the achievement "shows what a tight unit we are".

A Hurricane, Guildford was one of four members of the squad who played in this year's Super 14 competition, along with Crusaders Nasi Manu, Kade Poki and Sean Maitland.

Poki said England had been one of the more challenging opponents in an event that replaced the under-19 and under-21 championships.

However, the pressure New Zealand exerted after leading 13-3 at halftime had told in the second spell.

Poki said the win had been "a long time coming" and rated the standard of rugby as comparable with the Rebel Sport Super 14.

Meanwhile, coach David Rennie put the side's success down to the high level of coaching in New Zealand.

"As far as player development goes, we probably do it better in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world," he said.

"That is probably evident in the success that age range sides have had over a number of years."

Despite the player drain to the Northern Hemisphere, Rennie was not worried that his young team would be lured by generous European club chequebooks. "I think the lure of the All Blacks jersey is still a big thing for these young guys," he said.

"They are very proud to represent their country and they've done well. "