France U18 Poles Espoires sealed the U18 Tri Nations Festival title with a 14-8 victory over England Counties U18 yesterday at Ashbourne RFC, Dublin.
The French side had beaten Ireland U18 A 23-10 at the weekend, so their second victory wraps up the title, while the remaining game in the series, Ireland U18 A v England Counties U18 on Saturday, will decide second and third place.
England actually led 8-6 at the break, but could not get themselves on the scoresheet in the second half as France hauled themselves into the lead for a 14-8 victory.
England opened the scoring after 25 minutes at Ashbourne RFC, a delightful crossfield kick from Trinity School fly half Charlie Fatoma falling into the arms of Warwick’s Josh Grimes, who offloaded beautifully for The Oratory’s Max Clemenston to score.
England conceded a penalty from the restart though, immediately narrowing the five-point gap to 5-3. However Fatoma soon slotted a penalty of his own to put England further ahead, only for France to quickly slot on of their own, leaving the half time score at 8-6 in England Counties U18’s favour.
Shortly into the second half, a third penalty of the game France the lead for the first time in the game at 9-8, it was a lead that they would never relinquish. As the French confidence and pressure grew, it finally paid off in the 68th minute as they crossed the try line for the only time in the game, giving them the 14-8 lead that they would maintain to the final whistle.
It was a tough loss for the England Counties side, who showed plenty of heart and determination, and no little skill. The French side they faced were a top class outfit though, deserving of the title, as coach Giles Hegarty alluded to when speaking to www.englandrugby.com
You have to give full credit to the French, they’re a big, physical side.”
England’s next game comes on Saturday at 14.00 when they take on host nation Ireland U18 A at Dublin’s Ashbourne RFC. They will be the second England side in action on Saturday, with England U18 taking on Scotland U18 in Caerphilly.
Full Time: England Counties U18 8-14 France U18 Poles Espoires
England Counties U18 XV
15 Louis Brown (St Wilfred’s)
14 Ollie Davis-Smith (Worthing College)
13 Josh Grimes (Warwick)
12 Lawrence Thresher (Skinners’)
11 Tom Carleton (Kirkham Grammar)
10 Charles Fatoma (Trinity)
9 Will Hardwick (Bedford Modern)
1 Mike Guida (Henley College)
2 Luke Chadwick (Prince Henry’s Grammar)
3 Ben Jesson (Bishop Vesey’s Grammar)
4 Charlie Morgan (Solihull)
5 Nick Ashcroft (Kirkham Grammar)
6 Sam Miller (Harrow, captain)
7 Max Clementson (The Oratory)
8 Tom Dodd (Warwick)
Replacements: 16 Will Routledge (Cokethorpe) 17 Will Cutbill (Solihull) 18 Mat Woodward (Kirkham Grammar) 19 James Newman (King’s Worcester) 20 Sam Jones (Mount St Mary’s) 21 Tom Fawsett (Oaklands College) 22 Ollie Wem (Bishop Vesey’s Grammar) 23 Sam Hollingwsorth (Warwick Grammar) 24 Robbie Smith (Dartford Grammar).
U18 Tri-Nations Series
Ireland U18 A 10-23 France U18 Poles Espoires
England Counties U18 8-14 France U18 Poles Espoires
Ireland U18 A v England Counties U18 – Ashbourne RFC, 2nd April, 14.00