XXV Sportswear Official Ambassador Tom Seabrook has an exciting future ahead of him and Gloucester Rugby obviously agrees as they recently handed the young prodigy his first professional contract. Despite this incredible news, Tom was fully focused on the task at hand as he strived for international glory with England at the World Rugby U20s Championship.
Seabrook followed in the footsteps of some of England’s greatest ever rugby players and did everything in his power to help his side win England’s fourth U20s World Championship and avenge 2018’s final defeat to France. As you’d expect, England are one of the nations that has competed in every U20s World Cup since the tournaments inception in 2008 and have enjoyed sustained success, featuring in the final 9 of a possible 12 times.
This year’s tournament sees the best youngsters from across the world travelling to Argentina to battle for bragging rights and supremacy. The England U20s squad (as always) had an abundance of talent that will was put to the test in the pool stages as England took on the impressive Wallabies, Six Nations grand slam winners Ireland and a not to be underestimated Italian side.
Despite one of the tries of the tournament from Seabrook, England were unable to overcome a strong and determined Ireland side. England’s discipline may be attributed as the deciding factor in the game’s outcome as they suffered 2 yellow cards before receiving a game-deciding red card for an extremely unnecessary and dangerous challenge in the second half.
In England’s second pool game things were supposed to get easier as they took on an Italian side that they had comfortably defeated in the Six Nations a few months prior. However, this was not the case as the Azzurri pushed England to the brink in an exhilarating 24-23 encounter. Once again Tom started the game on the right wing but chances were few and far between as the match was the epitome of a forward orientated game.
Simply put, England’s final pool game against Australia was a must win. Like many others who had played a lot of minutes at the tournament without a break, Tom was given a rest for this game and was listed among the substitutes. The 56-33 score line flattered England who were playing with a man advantage for almost the entire game as Australia lost a man to a red card 3 minutes into the game but it was none the less an impressive result against one of the tournament favourites.
Although an impressive final pool game victory, points difference meant that England failed to qualify for the final four and once again faced Ireland, as both teams battled it out in the fifth place semi-final. Tom and England were determined to avenge the earlier defeat to their old rivals and managed to do so in a thrilling 30-23 victory, with a last ditched try from Tom Willis securing bragging rights for England.
After a fulfilling victory over Ireland, England earned the right to truly battle for fifth place as they faced another old foe in Wales. England took this opportunity to flex their muscles as a dominant start saw them head into half time with as 28-0 lead. A truly professional performance saw the side build on the assertive score line and end the tournament with a well deserved 45-26 win and a confirmed fifth place finish at the World Championships.
All in all, maybe not the tournament that England would have hoped for but a lot of positives to take home and build on for the young squad. Finishing fifth in the World can never be scoffed at and we’d like to congratulate Tom and his teammates on a thoroughly entertaining and well-fought World Cup. All of us at XXV Sportswear cannot wait to see what comes next Tom!