U18 5 Nations Festival: England U18 storm past Wales to claim perfect Festival record


England U18 put in a stunning performance to beat Wales 41-9, sealing the U18 5 Nations Festival on the final day.


The day did not start well for England, whose U18 ‘A’ side was beaten 17-5 by Italy but the senior U18 side recovered things brilliantly with a stunning win over their Welsh counterparts.


Both sides arrived in Swansea with two wins from their opening two games, Wales beating Scotland and Italy, with England beating Scotland and Ireland, knowing that the winner would win the unofficial U18 5 Nations Festival crown.


Fly half James Grayson, of Moulton College, scored 21 points, though a stunning performance from Trinity’s Gabriel Ibitoye, who has captained England in this series, saw the winger claim the BMW Man of the Match medal, of who England Head Coach John Fletcher said:


“Gabbs played last year for England U18s and played 16s before that and has played for Harlequins so he’s been demonstrating that form ever since he started playing, he’s one of a number of exciting players in the squad, he had some strong moments in the game last night and he’s captained the team well throughout the games.”


Wales opened the scoring through a Ben Jones penalty, but England hit back as New Hall centre Oli Morris scored the first of a brace of tries, though this first came with a fair dose of luck attached as a Grayson’s chip hit the corner flag and bounced up for Morris to score. Grayson’s conversion gave England a 7-3 lead.


Jones landed another penalty for the Welsh, but once again Morris struck back, this time in a more conventional manner, with Grayson once again bisecting the uprights despite a tough angle. He later added a penalty, with Jones also landing one for Wales, leaving the half time score at 17-9 in England’s favour.


Shortly after the break Grayson turned try-scorer as well as kicker. Converting his own try he pushed England further in front, before Ibitoye showed his outstanding pace and balance to score England’s fourth.


There was still plenty of time for England to find a fifth score, and it was worth the wait when it came as a sizzling move saw Leicester Grammar School scrum half Ben White go strolling over the Welsh line to leave the final score at 41-9.


Speaking after the game, John Fletcher said:


“The intent to look and find different opportunities to score was the most pleasing thing and then from a defensive point of view their decision making, this helped free defenders up and it’s something we’ve been working hard on in training.”


“It didn’t surprise me to be honest, that’s how they train every day and the team has got a lot of strengths so it’s not a surprise that they scored lots of good tries.”


Wales’ Head Coach Geraint Lewis was naturally disappointed with the result, but was impressed with his side’s play for much of the tournament, saying:


“The final result is a disappointing way to finish the tournament but it doesn’t take away a lot of the good things the boys have done throughout the series. We came up against a very good England side – things didn’t really go our way from the start,”


“I didn’t think there was much in it at halftime – they had a fortuitous try and scored right on the stroke of halftime – but they are a very difficult team to chase as they have so many dangerous runners. Once you start chasing it gets a bit looser and it plays into their hands – that’s life, we’ll learn from it and move on.”


“In the end it was like hitting your head against a brick wall where we lost a bit of composure and shape. The boys will take a lot out of this and hopefully it will inspire them to keep working hard for their future development.”


Full Time: England U18 41-9 Wales U18


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 the table.


Teams: (Including England U18 A):


England U18 XV:

15 Tom Parton (Wellington College)

14 Gabriel Ibitoye (Trinity)

13 Oli Morris (New Hall)

12 Jacob Umaga (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College)

11 Levi Davis (Denstone College)

10 James Grayson (Moulton College)

9 Rory Brand (Wellington College)

1 Alex Seville (Hartpury College)

2 Henry Walker (Bromsgrove)

3 Ciaran Knight (St Peter’s, Gloucester)

4 Dino Lamb-Cona (Cranleigh)

5 Nick Isiekwe (Haileybury)

6 Lewis Wilson (Pocklington)

7 Tom Curry (Oundle)

8 Ben Earl (Tonbridge)


16 Alex Rayment (Royal Hospital School)

17 Jarod Leat (St Paul’s Catholic College)

18 Joseph Morris (KES Aston)

19 Sam Lewis (Denstone College)

20 Sam Moore (Sedbergh)

21 Ted Hill (Worcester 6th form College)

22 Ben White (Leicester Grammar School)

23 Ben Loader (Wellington College)

24 Sam Yawayawa (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College)


Wales U18 XV

15 Leon Randell (Coleg Sir Gar)

14 Joe Goodchild (Coleg Gwent)

13 Corey Baldwin (Llandovery College)

12 Ben Thomas (Cardiff & Vale College)

11 Ryan Conbeer (Coleg Sir Gar)

10 Ben Jones (Coleg y Cymoedd)

9 Dane Blacker (Coleg y Comoedd)

1 Rhys Carre (Cowbridge Comprehensive)

2 Jordan Liney (Hartpury College)

3 Christian Coleman (Newport High School)

4 Rhys Davies (Millfield)

5 Will Griffiths (Gowerton Comprehensive)

6 Lloyd Pike (Coleg Sir Gar)

7 Will Jones (Gower College, captain)

8 Morgan Morris (Hartpury College)


16 Iestyn Harris (Ysgol y Cymer)

17 Josh Reynolds (Newport High School)

18 Harri Dobbs (Cowbrdige Comprehensive)

19 Ben Sier (Newport High School)

20 Jim Botham (Sedbergh)

21 Charlie Davies (Gowerton Comprehensive)

22 Connor Tantum (Porthcawl)

23 Gethin Gibby (Coleg Sir Gar)


England U18 ‘A’ XV:

15 Nick David (Warwick)

14 Elliott Obatoyinbo (Harrow)

13 Reuben Bird-Tulloch (Harrow)

12 Tom Hardwick (Rugby)

11 Cadan Murley (Bishop Wordsworth’s)

10 Marcus Smith (Brighton College)

9 Cameron Brown (Millfield)

1 Jack Wafer (Grammar School at Leeds)

2 Beck Cutting (Bromsgrove)

3 Marcus Street (Bicton College)

4 Laurence Weston (Bromsgrove)

5 James Scott (Malvern College)

6 Ted Hill (Worcester 6th form College)

7 Charlie Wright (Bicton College)

8 Sam Moore (Sedbergh)


16 Tom Guthrie (Abingdon)

17 Oscar Harper (John Cleveland College)

18 Nick Rigby (Warwick)

19 Sam Grahamslaw (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College)

20 Tom Willis (Henley College)

21 Will Porter (Merchant Taylors’)

22 Tom Seabrook (Dean Close)

23 Dion Shekells-King (King’s Worcester)

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