Worcester ace Ben Howard admits he cannot wait to go head-to-head with Wales Under-20s this Sunday in the IRB Junior World Championship final at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes, northern France.
England booked their place in the Championship decider after battling to an epic 33-21 victory over New Zealand – the first ever time that England had beaten the Baby Blacks at this age group – on Tuesday evening.
And Howard now hopes his side can finally secure the title after finishing runners-up in three of the last five Championships.
“I’m absolutely buzzing for the final,” said the Warriors young star. “Wales produced a big semi-final performance against South Africa, who we lost to, so we can’t take them lightly and it’s a World Championship final so anything can happen.
“I’m nervous and excited and have every emotion going. We’ll look at where we can target them, put together a game plan and hopefully come away with a win.”
England saw off Wales in March to secure the Under 20s RBS Six Nations title and have impressed on their way to the Junior World Championship final.
The Warriors wing was a replacement that day but is hopeful he can start this time out and admits it will be the highlight of his career so far if England were to lift the trophy.
He continued: “We beat them away in the last game to win the Six Nations but that’s in the past now and we’ll be in the right frame of mind on Sunday.
“We’ve really progressed in the last few weeks against the top teams so to become the best in the world would be a dream come true and the biggest highlight so far. That’s all we’re focused on.”
Howard has started every match during the IRB Junior World Championship and scored two tries as England cruised to a record-breaking 109-0 victory over USA in the final pool game.
And he insists he is fresh ahead of the showpiece event and added: “I wasn’t expecting to start every match so that’s been really good. It’s a tough turnaround between matches but it’s a big squad effort.
“It was a bit of relief to get the tries and it was nice to get a bit more of the ball in hand against USA. It would be a perfect end to tournament to get another try and help the side to victory on Sunday.”
England's Junior World Championships final against Wales is live on Sky Sports 2 from 5:30pm on Sunday. England’s team will be announced on Saturday.
“We’ve really progressed in the last few weeks against the top teams so to become the best in the world would be a dream come true and the biggest highlight so far…"