Under 20s Six Nations: France, England and Ireland continue their good form

England U20 40-9 Wales U20

England’s hopes for consecutive Grand Slams are still alive following a convincing six-try win over Wales at the Twickenham Stoop. Rob Hunter kept with the same side that would have played against Italy in the last round.

In front of a 3,400 strong crowd, it was Wales who started the match stronger as fly half Sam Davies opened the scoring with a drop goal. Shortly after, England got going as they scored their first try of the game through Bedford Blues winger Josh Bassett, converted by fly half Tommy Bell. London Irish’s Anthony Watson then scored the first of two tries for him on the half hour but Davies kept Wales in the hunt with two penalties before half time.

The second half started close but ended with a bang as England scored four tries within the last half an hour of the game, spurred on by full back Ben Ransom, whose kick into the Welsh half was the catalyst for a try from Exeter loosehead Luke Cowan-Dickie. Sam Hill and Anthony Watson went over the line, along with substitute winger Marland Yarde, adding to the hat trick that he scored against Scotland in the opening weekend.

Following the match, England coach Rob Hunter said that there is still room for improvement as they go into consecutive weekend matches away in Italy and France. Wales next host Italy as they hope to get their campaign back on track once more.

Ireland U20 27-8 Italy U20

Ireland kept their 100% record in the tournament going with a convincing win over Italy in Athlone on Friday night. Captain Paddy Jackson led the way for his team, scoring 17 points with the boot including five penalties and one conversion.

Like in the last round against France, it took Ireland time to find their feet in the match as they had a slim 12-3 lead at half time. The second half was a “stop-start” affair as there was a lengthy break in play following a collision between Ireland centre Chris Farrell and Italy’s Riccardo Della Rossa. It was Italy who made the most of the opportunity though as winger Alex Morsellino went over the line for the first try of the match after Michele Campagnaro’s break. Yet the match was Ireland’s as they finished with a flourish. Second rower, Iain Henderson, scored a try with just 12 minutes left on the clock, followed by the winner from Shane Layden.

Mike Ruddock’s side will be pleased with the result, but there will be hard work to do before they host Scotland in the next round.

Scotland U20 21-30 France U20

Scotland coach, Peter Wright, has admitted that his side needs be more physical if they want to break their losing streak. Scotland are still without a win in this year’s Six Nations, following their most recent loss to France.

It was a man-of-the-match performance from France captain Karl Chateau, as he led his side to a four try victory in Galasheils. The visitors came right out of the blocks from the first whistle, putting the pressure on Scotland and reaping the subsequent rewards as scrum-half Tom Ecochard scored an early penalty. Chateau then opened the try scoring on 23 minutes and this was increased as centre Jonathan Danty broke through the Scotland defence shortly after the hosts got onto the scoreboard through the boot of Edinburgh’s Harry Leonard. France winger Darly Domvo helped the team to an unassailable lead, breaking through three tackles for a try of his own. The visitors didn’t have it all their way in the first half though as lock Adam Sinclair went over the line shortly before half time in a move that was created and then converted by Leonard.

The second half was as lot closer as Scotland fought back hard, but France managed to get their fourth try early on through Alban Placines. Despite going down to 14 men with try-scorer Sinclair in the bin, France’s indiscipline continued to be punished by Leonard, whose boot brought the hosts back in contention. Fullback Sam Hidalgo-Clyne scored a try half way through the second half but it wasn’t enough as France took the win. Scotland will be hoping to get their campaign back on track away against Ireland, while France host England.

By Rachel Simmonite