There were some thrilling games in the U20 6 Nations on Friday evening as England, Ireland, and Wales all secured very different victories.
England were in stunning form against Italy, scoring eight tries for a 46-0 victory and Darlington Mowden Park’s Northern Echo Arena.
In horribly wet and muddy conditions, the victory was made all the more impressive, and once again it was the England back row that shone, with skipper and number 8 Zach Mercer outstanding, openside Ben Curry following his brother’s lead and picking up the man of the match award in the process, and blindside Josh Bayliss having a great game and scoring two tries despite only being a late addition to the starting XV following Jack Nay’s injury on Thursday. Indeed all three of the back row scored, with Curry and Mercer scoring in the first half and Bayliss’ double following in the second half.
There were also two tries for former Wellington College full back Tom Parton, now of London Irish, while his former schoolmate Sam Aspland-Robinson, now of Harlequins, also got in on the act with a score of his own, and came within inches of a brace.
Newcastle Falcons’ Jamie Blamire was the man who got the ball rolling twith the opening try of the game after 17 minutes, helping England to a 17-0 lead at the break before Aspland-Robinson’s try on 41 minutes secured the bonus point and allowed England to pull away.
Forget the tries though, the real story was the England bench which included three schoolboys, Exeter College tighthead Marcus Street, Worcester 6th form College’s Ted Hill, and Brighton College’s Marcus Smith. All three are tremendous prospects and did not simply run around for the experience when they came on, but actually contributed, with Street and Hill enjoying some bullocking carries, while Smith set up a couple of tries and nailed a tough touchline conversion.
The future for England appears particularly bright.
Ireland, meanwhile, were in a much tougher contest as they faced France at Donnybrook. France were embarrassed by England on the opening weekend but bounced back against Scotland, while Ireland had had to battle pretty hard to get past both Scotland Italy.
Ireland found their feet against France though, and fronted up both in an attacking sense and in their solidity for an excellent 27-22 victory over their French counterparts, and like England they remain unbeaten in this championship so far.
Wales travelled to Broadwood Stadium to face Scotland in what was, frankly, one of the most bizarre games the Championship will see. Both sides secured try scoring bonus points but the scoreline was far from close as Wales secured a huge 65-34 victory.
The truth was though that it was a bit of a shambles at times, with defence seemingly somewhat option as both sides seemed to trade scores almost at will, particularly during the mid-point of the second half where it seemed almost like a ‘you attack, we attack’ training game.
Both sides will need to tighten up considerably in the next round, where Scotland travel to England and Wales host Ireland.
Outside of the U20 6 Nations, there was more age-grade action as Scotland U19 faced Scottish Students ahead of their game against Scotland U18 in March. The U19 side competed hard, but ultimately the greater experience of the Students told as they secured a 24-7 victory.
U20 6 Nations Round 3 Results:
England U20 46-0 Italy U20
Ireland U20 27-22 France U20
Scotland U20 34-65 Wales U20
Scotland U19 7-24 Scottish Students
Home Nations’ Teams:
England U20 XV
15 Tom Parton (London Irish), 14 Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins), 13 Dominic Morris (Saracens), 12 Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie), 11 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 10 Jacob Umaga (Wasps), 9 Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), 1 Ollie Dawe (Bristol), 2 Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), 3 Ciaran Knight (Gloucester), 4 Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs), 5 Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), 6 Jack Nay (Saracens), 7 Ben Curry (Sale Sharks), 8 Zach Mercer (Bath, captain).
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker (Gloucester), 17 Alex Seville (Gloucester), 18 Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 19 Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons), 20 Josh Bayliss (Bath), 21 Rory Brand (London Irish), 22 Marcus Smith (Harlequins), 23 Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish).
Ireland U20 XV
15 Rob Lyttle (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), 14 Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), 13 Tommy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster), 12 Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster), 11 Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster, captain), 10 Bill Johnston (Garryowen/Munster), 9 Johnny Stewart (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), 1 Joey Conway (UL Bohemians/Munster), 2 Tadgh McElroy (Lansdowne/Leinster), 3 Charlie Connolly (Dublin University/Leinster), 4 Jack Regan (UCD/Leinster), 5 Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne/Leinster), 6 Marcus Rea (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), 7 Paul Boyle (Lansdowne/Leinster), 8 Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster).
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher (UCD RFC/Leinster), 17 Rory Mulvihill (UCD/Leinster), 18 Peter Cooper (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), 19 Gavin Coombes (Young Munster/Munster), 20 Sean Masterson (Corinthians/Connacht), 21 Jack Lyons (Young Munster/Munster), 22 Conor Fitzgerald (Shannon RFC/Munster), 23 Alex McHenry (Cork Constitution/Munster).
Scotland U20 XV
15 Stafford McDowall (Ayr), 14 Ross McCann (Melrose), 13 Craig Pringle (Stirling County), 12 Connor Eastgate (Wasps), 11 Darcy Graham (Hawick), 10 Josh Henderson (Glasgow Hawks), 9 Charlie Shiel (Currie), 1 Fergus Bradbury (Stirling County), 2 Fraser Renwick (Hawick), 3 Adam Nicol (Stirling County), 4 Hamish Bain (Currie), 5 Callum Hunter-Hill (Stirling County), 6 Alex Craig (Gloucester), 7 Luke Crosbie (Currie), 8 Tom Dodd (Worcester Warriors).
Replacements: 16. Robbie Smith (Ayr), 17 Daniel Winning (Boroughmuir), 18 George Thornton (Bishop Burton College), 19 Bruce Flockhart (Glasgow Hawks), 20 Jamie Ure (Boroughmuir), 21 Andrew Simmers (Heriot’s), 22 Cameron Hutchison (Currie), 23 Robbie Nairn (Harlequins).
Wales U20 XV
15 Rhun Williams (Cardiff Blues), 14 Corey Baldwin (Scarlets), 13 Cameron Lewis (Cardiff Blues), 12 Keiran Williams (Ospreys), 11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets), 10 Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues), 9 Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues), 1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues), 2 Corrie Tarrant (Cardiff Blues), 3 Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Blues), 4 Sean Moore (Pontypridd), 5 Alex Dombrandt (Cardiff Met), 6 James Botham (Cardiff Blues), 7 Will Jones (c) (Ospreys), 8 Aled Ward (Cardiff Blues).
Replacements: 16 Owen Hughes (Dragons), 17 Steff Thomas (Scarlets), 18 Chris Coleman (Dragons), 19 Max Williams (Dragons), 20 Morgan Morris (Hartpury), 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys), 22 Arwel Robson (Dragons), 23 Phil Jones (Ospreys).
Scotland U19 XV
15 Ben Appleson (Edinburgh Academicals), 14 Kyle Rowe (Falkirk), 13 Jake Hennessey (KCS Wimbledon/Harlequins), 12 Will Hunt (Preston Grasshoppers), 11 Logan Trotter (Stirling County), 10 Kyle Brunton (Hawick), 9 Harry Warr (Ayr), 1 Finn Hobbis (Stewart’s Melville), 2 Jack Samuel (Cardiff Met University), 3 Finlay Richardson (Edinburgh Academicals), 4 Dean Roger (Edinburgh Academicals), 5 Jamie Hodgson (Stewart’s Melville), 6 Dan Marek (Currie), 7 Angus Hinton (Merchiston Castle), 8 Harry Henderson (Stirling County).
Replacements: 16 Bradley Clements (Jedburgh), 17 Shaun Gunn (Edinburgh Academicals), 18 Jamie Ross (Northumbria University), 19 Andrew Horne (Hawick), 20 Kaleem Baretto (Glenalmond College), 21 Gary Munro (Jed Forest), 22 Robbie Yourston (Jed Forest), 23 Ben Enyon (Glasgow Hawks), 24 Jack Paterson (Edinburgh Academicals), 25 Patrick Anderson (Melrose).
Scottish Students XV
15 Lyall Archer, 14 Jonny Spence, 13 Archie Winnington-Ingram, 12 Theo Nwosu-Hope, 11 Finlay Simpson, 10 Rob Lind, 9 Nick Stephen, 1 Fraser Christie, 2 Sam Bullock, 3 Scott Docherty, 4 Adam Greig, 5 Toby Hall, 6 Morgan Ward, 7 Robbie Kent, 8 Jon Price.
Replacements: 16 Callum Simpson, 17 Amos Marawa, 18 Ashton Squires, 19 Hugh Browne, 20 Finn Murphy, 21 Jamie Loomes, 22 Roland Walker.