Suffolk duo in England squad for World Under-20 Championships final against All Blacks
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich-born rugby star Lewis Ludlam has revealed his immense pride at representing England, ahead of the biggest match of his life on Saturday night.
The ex-Kesgrave High and St Joseph’s College schoolboy has played an integral part in the defending champions’ journey to the Under-20 World Championship final, and a clash against New Zealand in Italy.
Ludlam is expected to start Saturday evening’s final, alongside fellow Ipswich-born flanker Will Owen, who represented Diss as a youngster and studied at Framlingham College.
A former Colchester RFC youngster, Ludlam helped England to a 28-20 semi-final victory against South Africa, having sat out his country’s last pool game which resulted in a 30-18 defeat to France.
England qualified for the last four, despite that defeat, courtesy of being the best second-placed team in the tournament and Ludlam, who was pictured in tears whilst singing ‘God Save the Queen’ before victory against Wales, is honoured to have been part of the ride.
“It’s incredible, I can’t really describe what it’s like representing your country and singing the national anthem,” he said.
“You are not just representing your country, you are representing your family, your team-mates and all the coaches that have worked with you to help put you in this position.
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“It’s also a chance to perform in a very competitive environment. The boys are all young and help their (domestic) first teams, but this a chance to go away and try to build their own career.”
He added: “We (England) took a bit of a backward step against France but we used our get-out-of-jail card and performed really well against South Africa..
“We knew it was going to be a challenge against a big pack and a physical side and now we face New Zealand who we know are going to be a very strong side too.
“I don’t think we would have got this far though had we not had a chance of winning the final.”
Ludlam and Owen will be hoping to emulate the success of former St Jo’s schoolboy Alex Day, who won the tournament with England two years ago.
Day, recently left Northampton Saints to join Cornish Pirates.
England v New Zealand is live on BT Sport 2, on Saturday, kick-off 7.30pm.