England U19 and France U19 played out an exciting 26-26 draw at Kingston Park on Saturday.
It was actually a stunning comeback from the French, who were 18-7 down at half time, and 26-12 down as the game neared its conclusion.
France initially took the lead with an early converted try, before a Harry Randall (Hartpury College) try narrowed the gap, with Trinity’s Gabriel Ibitoye further closing the gap.
Felsted old boy Max Malins extended the advantage to that 18-7 lead at the break after slotting two penalties and converting one of the tries.
He then extended the lead to 21-7 shortly after the break with a third penalty of the game, but France responded, scoring their second of the gap for 21-12.
Wellington College old boy Sam Aspland-Robinson put England U19 ahead by what looked like an insurmountable amount when he crossed for England’s third try of the game, taking the lead to 26-12.
France were not about to cave in though, and landed two converted scores for a thrilling 26-26 draw at the final whistle.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com after the game, England U19 Head Coach, John Fletcher, said
“I was pleased with the overall performance, France have a dominant scrum which gave them a good platform but I thought our general ball movement was stronger than France. We deserved our lead, scored some good tries and then France snuck one at the end.”
“In hindsight we could have made some different decisions with the ball in the final five or 10 minutes. Some of our decision making towards the end could have been slightly different. Overall it was a really good experience for us.”
“There was lots of creativity and awareness out there. I thought our ball movement and decision making with the ball was strong.”
Full Time: England U19 26-26 France U19
England U19 XV:
15 Darren Atkins (Bath, ex Millfield)
14 Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins, ex Wellington College)
13 Dominic Morris (Saracens, ex New Hall)
12 Jacob Umaga (Leicester Tigers, Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College)
11 Matt Gallagher (Saracens, ex Whitgift)
10 Max Malins (Saracens, ex Felsted)
9 Harry Randall (Gloucester, Hartpury College)
1 Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens, ex Roundwood Park)
2 Joe Mullis (Gloucester, ex Chosen Hill)
3 Jake Pope (Sale Sharks, ex Myerscough College)
4 Alex Moon (Northampton Saints, ex Sedbergh)
5 Jack Nay (Saracens, Berkhamsted)
6 Archie White (Harlequins, ex Epsom College)
7 Will Evans (Leicester Tigers, ex Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College)
8 Zach Mercer (Bath, ex Merchiston Castle)
16 Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy)
17 Charlie Capps (Yorkshire Carnegie, ex Prince Henry’s Grammar)
18 Jack Edmonson (Bath, ex Sherborne)
19 Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons, Sedbergh)
20 Josh Bayliss (Bath, Millfield)
21 Harry Simmons (Leicester Tigers, Gresham’s)
22 Tom Parton (London Irish, Wellington College)
23 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins, Trinity)