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Rugby News

Confident Heyes excited for World Cup opener

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A much more composed Joe Heyes is looking forward to the challenge of bettering last season's runners up finish at the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina.

On the eve of the first game in South America, when England kick off their campaign against Ireland on Tuesday (June 4) before fixtures against Italy and Australia in the group stages, the Tigers front-rower shared his excitement and ambitions for the tournament.

"I am very excited, yes," said Heyes. "I was very nervous last year and feel a bit more confident going in to it this season.

"I really enjoyed last year's tournament, making the final was special and even more so to do it alongside fellow Leicester players as well."

The Leicester prop was a mainstay in the England U20s side in 2018 and featured in only a few fixtures during the recent campaign due to playing a more prominent role for the senior side in what could be described as a breakthrough season for the Tigers Academy graduate.

After finishing in second place last season to France, Heyes says the goal of the England side is to build momentum and 'consistency' in the early stages of this year's tournament with a 'gold medal' the eventual aim.

"We were inconsistent during this year's Six Nations and had a lot of players coming in and out," he said.

"Hopefully after a bit longer together in preparation for the tournament will allow us to get that consistency and ensure we're in contention.

"Because our aim is to win it, of course."

The Tigers forward was one of five Leicester players in last year's squad and didn't expect to be the lone club representative for the 2019 edition.

The 20-year-old is also of the belief that it will be the last season for some time that sees only one Tiger in the England U20s squad.

"I expected more of our lads to be honest," admitted Heyes.

"I have no doubt there will be a lot of Leicester lads next year and in the years to come with the talent coming through at Tigers.

Heyes will start at tighthead prop in the opening fixture after being named in the side earlier today for the game against Ireland on Tuesday, which supporters can see on World Rugby platforms LIVE from 7.30pm UK time.