Mercer pays tribute to England character

England U20s captain Zach Mercer described their victory over South Africa as a “massive team effort”.

Mercer scored a late try to help his side into the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship.

England will face New Zealand on Sunday in Georgia (kick-off 3pm, live on ITV 4) as they look to win their fourth world u20 title in five years.

"We're over the moon to reach the final, it's something you always dream of,” said Mercer.

"It was a huge battle from start to finish. We knew that was coming from the South Africans, they have a massive, physical forward pack and their backline has a massive skillset.

“Credit to our bench, our front-row replacements that came on we're outstanding, especially at the end there when we had to hold out.”

The side have reached the final despite having five members of the squad away in Argentina with the senior squad while also sustaining injuries to five key players during the tournament.

Despite that they have sealed a place in their fifth consecutive final and are also unbeaten this season having also won the Grand Slam.

Speaking of his try, Mercer added:  "First of all you've got to give credit to that forward pack for carrying all day and putting us in good positions.

“Harry (Randall) ran a good little line and I ran off him, I didn't actually want the ball but it found its way to me. I managed to stumble my way under the sticks and Max (Malins) slotted the conversion confidently as he always does. It's a massive team effort that's all I can say.”

England will now focus on Sunday’s final against New Zealand as they look to make history by winning the Six Nations Grand Slam and World Rugby U20 Championship in the same season."It's amazing to reach the final, it's been our target and now we've made it there."

"We really appreciate everyone's support, it's massive for us out here,” added Mercer, who also had a message for the supporters.

“Please continue to support us when we take on New Zealand in the final and cheer the boys on. Hopefully we can bring the trophy back to England."

Scrum-half Mitchell who scored England’s other try in the 24-22 victory, added: "It's amazing to reach the final, it's been our target and now we've made it there it's a fantastic feeling.

“We're really looking forward to it but we'll have a look at the New Zealand-France game now to see what we can work on and push on for the final.”

 


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