England U18 got off to the perfect start in the Rugby Europe U18 European Championships yesterday, beating Portugal 85-5 in Montauban.
Englandâ€™s thirteen try start to their defence of the title that they won in Poland last year was spearheaded by Trinity School winger, Gabriel Ibitoye. The Harlequins Academey man scored a scorching four tries, with two either side of the break.
England had already chalked up eight tries for a 54-0 lead at half time, with Ibitoye and Merchiston Castleâ€™s Zach Mercer both clocking up braces. Ibitoyeâ€™s two back three partners also got on the scoresheet in the first half, Wellington Collegeâ€™s Sam Asplan-Robinson making up for missing his sideâ€™s HSBC Rosslyn Park National School 7s title by scoring a try from his left wing for his country, while Johnny McPhillips scored from full back, adding to a personal points haul that was to total twenty-five with his conversions.
Tighthead Charlie Capps from Prince Henryâ€™s and hooker Curtis Langdon from St Paulâ€™s Catholic College also secured first half tries.
The second half saw England score an impressive 17 points in six minutes, with tries from Wyggeston & QE1â€™s Will Evans, substitute Will Allman from Trent College, and his back row partner Gosforth Academyâ€™s Joe Craggs, either side of Ibityoeâ€™s third and fourth tries, securing the 85-5 victory.
Speaking after the game, Head Coach John Fletcher said:
“We scored 13 tries which takes some doing against any side, the pitch was good and suited the way we wanted to play and we scored some good tries.â€
â€œIt was pleasing from an attacking point of view that we scored a variety and we kept on going. We went in at half time well up but we didnâ€™t lose our focus too much in the second half.â€
â€œWe kept trying to score so that was pleasing. We managed to get all 23 players some game time today and fortunately we didnâ€™t pick up any injuries, so we go into the next game with everybody fit and available.â€
15. Johnny McPhillips (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh School)
14. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins, Trinity)
13. Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie, Prince Henry’s)
12. Max Malins (Saracens, Felsted)Â
11. Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins, Wellington College)
10. Mark Dixon (Sale Sharks, Lymm HS)
9. Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs, Blundells School)
1. Ollie Dawe (Exeter Chiefs, Bicton College)
2. Curtis Langdon (London Irish, St Pauls Sunbury)
3. Charles Capps (Yorkshire Carnegie, Prince Henry’s)
4. Tim Cardall (Northampton Saints, Moulton College)
5. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs, Bicton College)
6. Joe Craggs (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy)
7. Will Evans (Leicester Tigers, Wyggeston & QEI College)
8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby, Merchiston Castle School)
16. Dan Frost (Bath Rugby, Filton College)
17. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks, Myerscough College)
18. Jack Edmonson (Bath Rugby, Sherborne)
19. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, Haileybury College)
20. Archie White (Harlequins, Epsom College)
21. Will Allman (Northampton Saints, Trent College)
22. Alex Mitchell (Sale Sharks, Lymm HS)
23. Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish, Abingdon School)
Englandâ€™s next game is against hosts France on Tuesday afternoon. France beat Scotland in their opening game yesterday, you can see that report here: France v Scotland.