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'That is not a memory I want to live back, I think we lost about 1000-nil didn't we?'

By Ned Lester
Ben Earl of England looks on during the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on February 10, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

England are in New Zealand for the first time since 2014 and the players are keenly aware of the fact history is not on their side.

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Ben Earl knows it, and the explosive No. 8 has one particular memory he’d rather forget against the men in black.

In 2017, the two nations collided in the U20 World Championship final in what was as one-sided of an affair as recent history has produced at any level between the two powerhouses.

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A scoreline of 64-17 was registered in favour of the Kiwis, although Earl was understandably disinterested in diving into that detail.

“That is not a memory I want to live back, I think we lost about 1000-nil, didn’t we?” Earl said with a rye smile when speaking to media in New Zealand, as reported by RNZ.

“They were amazing players then, even better players now. I distinctly remember playing a couple of them; Asafo Aumua was untouchable on that day, Will Jordan from memory had an amazing tournament.

“I actually ended up trading shirts with (Dalton) Papali’i as well. So, some friendly faces there in terms of that stuff.

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“Will be nice to see them, they’ve had an interesting journey to their All Blacks experience and likewise here.”

Earl may well face off with Papali’i in the back row once more in the series’ opening Test in Dunedin, while the reigning World Player of the Year Ardie Savea is likely to be directly in his sights in the opposing eight jersey.

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Aumua has found his way back into the All Blacks squad as well, thanks to powerful form in a Super Rugby Pacific campaign where he took up the captaincy for periods and benefitted from the starting role in the absence of the now-retired Dane Coles.

As for Will Jordan, the try-scoring phenom will not feature in the upcoming series due to a shoulder injury. The superb outside back has been touted to be the next face of the black 15 jersey after being employed primarily on the wing to date in his international career.

For England, Ben Curry, Joe Heyes and Fraser Dingwall join Earl as members of both the 2017 England U20 squad and today’s team.

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The 2024 edition of the World Rugby U20 Championship kicked off over the weekend in South Africa and both England and New Zealand got their respective campaigns off to flying starts, putting 40 points on their round one opponents.

Both outfits went undefeated in their respective Six Nations and Rugby Championship campaigns and are among the favourites to take home the title.

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Comments

1 Comment
J
Jon 20 days ago

If you were to have a mirror image video of Asofa Aumua you’d have him busting the line in his U20 campaign, with a highlight of his Roller Mills (U13) runs before it.

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