The inaugural U18 5 Nations Festival finished on Wednesday evening with England U18’s stunning 41-5 victory over Wales U18.
It left England with three wins from three, having beaten Ireland 15-12 and Scotland 45-24 previously.
It means that in our unofficial table of the Festival, England finish top of the pile. The surprise second place team are Italy. They won two of their three games. Their first game was a 24-9 defeat to Wales, but the Italians led that game at half time and gave Wales a real fright, giving them a lot of confidence for the rest of the championship, beginning with a 21-17 victory over Scotland.
They then followed that up on Wednesday afternoon with a 17-5 victory over England U18 ‘A’. England U18 A only played on game in the Festival, helping to make sure that all five of the fully competing sides could play three games.
Wales actually headed into Wednesday evening’s game against England with a chance of topping the table too. They had opened their account with an exciting 31-30 win over Scotland, before that comeback against Italy a few days later. However defeat by 32 points to England saw them eventually finish behind Italy on points difference (in our strictly unofficial table), in third.
Ireland had a promising start, almost getting the better of the pre-tournament favourites, England, at Filton College, only to just miss out by 15-12, despite having led for a period.
They followed that with a stunning 43-0 victory over Scotland, which had many thinking that they would do similar things against Italy. However they were stunned by this promising Italian side, losing 21-17 and finishing up fourth in our table.
For Scotland it was a tough fortnight. It started promisingly with that 31-30 loss to Wales, and much was expected ahead of their game against Ireland, but to lose 43-0 was a bitter disappointment. They were in danger of another heavy defeat a few days later against England, but rallied well in the second half to narrow the deficit to 45-24.
The tournament definitely proved a popular success, and will hopefully continue to grow in terms of scale and publicity next year. England were the worthy champions, but perhaps the story of the Festival was the two wins from Italy, a timely boost for Italian rugby amidst much criticism about their senior and club sides.
U18 5 Nations Festival Results:
England 15-12 Ireland
Wales 31-30 Scotland
Ireland 43-0 Scotland
Wales 24-9 Italy
Italy 21-17 Ireland
England 45-24 Scotland
England A 5-17 Italy
Wales 9-41 England
|Unofficial U18 5 Nations Festival Final Table|
*England U18 A played one game, losing 17-5 to Italy. The result has been included in Italy’s tally, but England U18 A have not been included in our table.