Scotland U18 won the opening game of the U18 6 Nations Festival on Saturday, beating England 32-27 at the Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach.
In a pre-tournament warm up England had beaten Scotland 64-0, but this was an altogether different performance from both sides.
England led 27-10 at one point, only for Scotland to come from behind to take the win 32-27 with Dan Lancaster of Bishop Burton College, son of former England Head Coach Stuart, landing the final points for the Scots.
At half time England led 15-5 thanks to tries from Bloxham’s Alfie Barbeary, captain on the day, Northampton School for Boys’ Ollie Sleightholme, and St Peter’s Gloucester’s Reece Dunn. Scotland meanwhile had scored through Dulwich College winger Femi Sofolarin.
Hartpury College centre Jack Reeves crossed for England early in the second half before Jack Blain of Stewart’s Melville College kept Scotland in touch at 20-10, however a second from Reeves for England took them out to 27-10 an in relative control.
Rather than let their belief sink though, Scotland rallied. Sofolarin crossed for his second of the game and when Loretto centre Robbie McCallum crossed for Scotland’s fourth, the comeback was on, particularly when Lancaster’s conversion made it 27-22.
Scotland kept the pressure on as the minutes ticked away, but eventually the English defensive wall cracked as Blain went racing along the touchline, past a host of defenders, to score in the corner. With the pressure on, Lancaster landed the penalty to send his side 29-27 in front, and when, with time almost up, he had a penalty chance, he kept his cool once more to land the penalty for a famous 32-27 victory.
Speaking after the sensational victory, Scotland U18 Head Coach Iain Monaghan said to Scottish Rugby:
“Our boys have worked very hard since the defeat to England two weeks ago and did a lot of studying of the game .They highlighted a couple of key points around defence which they could improve.”
“We also added a couple of additional players to the squad who were involved with Scotland U20, and that has given the group a boost. England can score from anywhere and they did that today, so it’s all credit to England and we’re learning a bit from them about how to play.”
“Credit to our guys for the character they showed in the second-half to grind out the victory. It’s quite a quick turnaround to our game against France on Wednesday, so we’ll recover well, review the game and do a quick session. It’s great to start with a win as it’ll give the boys belief ahead of that game.”
England U18 Head Coach John Fletcher meanwhile said to England Rugby:
“A lot of credit has to go to Scotland, they came out in that second half and put us under a lot of pressure both sides of the ball. They were the strongest team towards the end of the game and that is often the deciding factor, especially in tight games.”
“We were pretty sloppy today, in attack we also left quite a lot out there and defensively we are disappointed with some of the tries Scotland scored. Some of our decision making was not at the level we would expect, a lot of that would be around information.’
“Win, lose or draw there are always things to take out of the game. The players will reflect on the game, they are bitterly disappointed and we didn’t lose through lack of effort. In attack we created plenty of opportunities but in defence we conceded some tries that are just not like us.”
Scotland U18 32-27 England U18
Following the England v Scotland game, the host nation Wales were in action against France. Wales arrived having beaten Scotland and lost to England in their warm up games, while France had beaten both England and Ireland, though their ‘B’ side had narrowly lost to Italy.
That form showed, as France scored three tries en route to a 22-14 victory at Ystrad Mynach.
France began fast, landing a penalty through Remi Brossett. A disallowed try then followed before loosehead prop Eli Eglaine eventually barged over for the French, with Brossett converting for a 10-0 lead.
The pressure kept on coming, with France held up before they came back again through second row Florent Vanverberghe to score his side’s second, with Brosset again converting to put his side 17-0 up, a lead they held going into the half time break.
Wales stepped up in the second half, scoring through Coleg Sir Gar centre Osian Knott, with Oakham’s Sam Costelow landing the conversion for 17-7. With that, Wales gained confidence, and were soon scoring again after Joe Roberts burst through, putting Gwynllyw centre Aneurin Owen over under the posts, giving Costelow a simple conversion to bring the game right into the balance at 17-14.
With time ticking down though, France began to hit back again. Their pressure forcing Coleg Y Cymoedd number 8 Ioan Davies to give away a yellow card. His opposite man, Jordan Joseph, took advantage, blasting over from short range to secure the 22-14 victory for France.
Wales U18 14-22 France U18
The final game of the opening round saw Ireland take on Italy in a game that turned out to be a thriller as Ireland secured the 20-17 victory.
Italy actually crossed three times, through Albert Batista, Michael Mba, and Matteo Moscardi, in return to Ireland’s two through Tom Ahern and Andrew Smith, however ten points from the boot of Wallace High School scrum half Nathan Doak made the difference.
Ireland had actually held a 17-5 lead, however the Italians had brilliantly come back into the game to level the scores at 17-17 as the game ticked away.
As the clock ticked down, Ireland managed to pile the pressure on, and the Italians gave away penalty after penalty. Doak missed with the first two, but on the third occasion he slotted the penalty to give his side a dramatic 20-17 victory.
Ireland U18 20-17 Italy U18
The teams are next in action on Wednesday 4th April at Cardiff Arms Park, with Italy facing England at midday, Ireland playing hosts Wales at 2.30pm, and Scotland taking on France at 5pm.
U18 6 Nations Festival Schedule: Saturday 31st March to Sunday 8th April
Matchday 1 – Saturday 31st March, Ystrad Mynach (Centre of Sporting Excellence)
Scotland U18 32-27 England U18
Wales U18 14-22 France U18
Ireland U18 20-17 Italy U18
Matchday 2 – Wednesday 4th April, Cardiff Arms Park
Italy U18 v England U18 – 12pm
Ireland U18 v Wales U18 – 2.30pm
France U18 v Scotland U18 – 5pm
Matchday 3 – Sunday 8th April, Cardiff Arms Park
Ireland U18 v Scotland U18 – 12pm
Italy U18 v Wales U18 – 2.30pm
France U18 v England U18 – 5pm
Previous U18 results this season:
Scotland 30-32 Wales
Scotland 0-64 England
Wales 14-42 England
France 27-5 England
Ireland 20-39 France
Italy 18-5 France ‘B’
U18 6 Nations Matchday 1 Teams:
England U18 XV:
15 Reece Dunn (St Peter’s Gloucester & Gloucester), 14 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton School for Boys & Northampton Saints), 13 Will Simonds (The Henley College & Wasps), 12 Jack Reeves (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 11 Jacob Morris (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 10 Manu Vunipola (Harrow & Saracens), 9 Blake Boyland (SGS Filton College & Bristol), 1 Bevan Rodd (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks), 2 Alfie Barbeary (Bloxham & Wasps, catain), 3 Jack Bartlett (Gloucester), 4 George Martin (Brooksby Melton College & Leicester Tigers), 5 Ben Donnell (Peter Symonds College & London Irish), 6 JJ Tonks (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 7 Ted Leatherbarrow (Kirkham Grammar & Sale Sharks), 8 Rob Farrar (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons).
Replacements: 16 Samson Ma’asi (St Josephs College & Northampton Saints), 17 Lewis Holsey (Solihull & Worcester Warriors), 18 Cal Ford (Sandbach & Sale Sharks), 19 Will Montgomery (Kirkbie Kendal & Newcastle Falcons), 20 Rus Tuima (Exeter College & Exeter Chiefs), 21 Henri Lavin (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College & Leicester Tigers), 22 Callum Pascoe (Gosforth Academy & Newcastle Falcons), 23 Josh Hodge (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons), 24 Harry Barlow (Cranleigh & Harlequins), 25 Connor Doherty (Kirkham Grammar & Sale Sharks).
Scotland U18 XV:
- Charlie Hudson (St Peter’s, York), 14 Rufus McLean (Merchiston Castle), 13 Scott Robeson (George Heriot’s), 12 Robbie McCallum (Loretto), 11 Jack Blain (Stewart’s Melville College/Stewarts Melville RFC), 10 Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol/SGS Filton College), 9 Jamie Dobie (Merchiston Castle), 1 Thomas Jeffrey (Peebles), 2 Rory Jackson (Edinburgh Academy), 3 Daniel Gamble (Kelso/Merchiston Castle), 4 Tom Morris (Dollar Academy), 5 Cameron Henderson (Strathallan), 6 Jack Hill (Sedbergh), 7 Connor Boyle (Stewart’s Melville College/Stewart’s Meville RFC), 8 Rory Darge (Borders College/Melrose).
Replacements: 16 Scott Clelland (Ayr), 17 Mak Wilson (Duns), 18 Alex Pleasants (The Henley College/Wasps), 19 Archie Smeaton (Yorkshire Carnegie/Hymers College), 20 Gavin Wilson (Dumfries Saints), 21 Kristian Kay (Stowe/Wasps), 22 Dan Lancaster (Yorkshire Carnegie/Bishop Burton College), 23 Matthew Currie (Merchiston Castle), 24 Paul Cunningham (George Watson’s College), 25 Femi Sofolarin (Dulwich College/Harlequins), 26 Cameron Brown (Kelso).
Wales U18 XV:
15 Harri Doel (Coleg Sir Gar/Scarlets Academy/Scarlets), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Hartpury College/Gloucester Academy/Exiles), 13 Osian Knott (Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Quins/Scarlets), 12 Aneurin Owen (Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw/NHSOB/Dragons), 11 Frankie Jones (Neath Port Talbot College/Cwmafan/Ospreys), 10 Evan Lloyd (Coleg Gwent/Dragons Academy/Dragons), 9 Dafydd Buckland (Newport High/Rhymney/Dragons), 1 William Sanderson (Coleg Llandrillo/Wrexham/RGC), 2 Will Griffiths (Coleg Gwent/Cross Keys/Dragons), 3 Luke Yendle (Newport High/Senghenydd/Dragons), 4 Ben Carter (Newport High/Caldicot/Dragons), 5 Teddy Williams (Ysgol Glantaf/Cardiff Harlequins/Cardiff Blues), 6 Robert Brookson (Coleg Gwent/Pontypool United/Dragons), 7 Jac Morgan (Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Athletic/Scarlets), 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu (Sedbergh School/Exiles).
Replacements: 16 Cameron Lewis (Coleg Sir Gar/Swansea Uplands/Ospreys), 17 Callum Williams (Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth/Tumble/Scarlets), 18 Archie Griffin (Marlborough College/Exiles), 19 Jac Price (Coleg Sir Gar/Carmarthen Quins/Scarlets), 20 Olly White (Llandovery College/Llandovery/RGC), 21 Ellis Bevan (Bryanston/Ampthill/Exiles), 22 Sam Costelow (Oakham School/Leicester Tigers/Exiles), 23 Joe Roberts (Coleg Sir Gar/Burry Port/Scarlets), 24 Ioan Davies (Coleg y Cymoedd/Merthyr/Cardiff Blues), 25 Josh Thomas (Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr/Pontarddulais/Ospreys), 26 Ioan Lloyd (Clifton College/Exiles).
Ireland U18 XV:
15 Max O’Reilly (St. Gerard’s School), 14 Andrew Smith (St. Michael’s College), 13 Karl Martin (St. Mary’s School, Drogheda), 12 Angus Adair (RBAI), 11 Aaron Sexton (Bangor GS), 10 Paddy McKenzie (East Glendalough School), 9 Nathan Doak (Wallace HS), 1 John McKee (Campbell College, captain), 2 Tom Stewart (Belfast Royal Academy), 3 Tom Clarkson (Blackrock College), 4 Cian Hurley (CBC Cork), 5 Tom Ahern (St. Augustine’s, Dungarvan), 6 Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork), 7 Ryan O’Neill (RS Armagh), 8 David McCann (RBAI).
Replacements: 16 Padraig McCarthy (Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai), 17 Connor Morrissey (Mayfield CS), 18 Charlie Ward (Tullow Community School), 19 Sean O’Brien (Blackrock College), 20 Conor McMenamin (Colaiste Ailigh), 21 Cian Prendergast (Newbridge College), 22 Anthony Ryan (Clongowes Wood College), 23 Ben Murphy (Presentation College Bray), 24 Dylan Prendergast (Sancta Maria College), 25 Ben Power (Campbell College), 26 Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael’s College).
France U18 XV:
15 Brosset, 14 Dridi, 13 Espeut, 12 Falatea, 11 Moefana, 10 Fusier, 9 Dolhagaray, 1 Eglaine, 2 Jutge, 3 Warion, 5 Vanverberghe, 6 Hamonou, 7 Peysson, 8 Joseph.
Replacements: 16 Lachaud, 17 Baggiani, 18 Maravat, 19 May, 20 Viallard, 21 Costossèque, 22 Bertschy, 23 Ndiaye.
Italy U18 XV:
15 Michele Peruzzo (Valsugana Padova), 14 Edoardo Mastandrea (Valsugana Rugby), 13 Michael Mba (Rugby Casale), 12 Matteo Moscardi (FEMI-CZ Rovigo, captain), 11 Albert Batista (Rugby Etruschi Livorno), 10 Paolo Garbisi (Mogliano Rugby), 9 Ratko Jelic (Lions Amaranto), 1 Matteo Druidi (UR Capitolina), 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi (Lions Amaranto), 3 Giacomo Florio (Fiamme Oro Rugby), 4 Andrea Zambonin (Rangers Vicenza), 5 Leon Scott Lawrence (Cavalieri Union Prato Sesto), 6 Manuel Zuliani (Benetton Treviso), 7 Davide Goldin (Petrarca Padova), 8 Andrea Faccenna (UR Capitolina).
Replacements:16 Tomas Rosario (Benetton Treviso), 17 Lorenzo Michelini (Biella Rugby), 18 Filippo Alongi (Benetton Treviso), 19 Paolo Steolo (Lafert San Donà), 20 Pietro Marzocchi Traversa (Conad Reggio), 21 Luca Borin (FEMI-CZ Rovigo), 22 Matteo Petrozzi (Saracens Academy), 23 Jona Motta (Rugby Milano), 24 Lorenzo Romano (Pro Recco Rugby), 25 Angelo Maurizi (Pol. L’Aquila Rugby), 26 Nicolò Quaglia (Rugby Rovato).