France U18 beat England 24-14 in the U18 6 Nations Festival, leaving England without a win in the competition.
France arrived having beaten Wales in their opener but then lost to Scotland, while England had lost to both Scotland and Italy. France therefore had a smidgeon more confidence, added to by the fact that they had beaten England27-5 in their opening game of the season, prior to the Festival.
Perhaps that slight edge in confidence paid off for France as they went into the break 10-0 ahead thanks to a lovely try from inside centre Theo Costosseque, a move started in his own half, with Remi Brosset adding a penalty and the conversion.
England came out stronger in the second half though, piling on the pressure before Hartpury College flanker JJ Tonks, an ever present in the England side in this tournament, crossed the whitewash.
Sedbergh’s Josh Hodge added the extras, and it was not long before England came back again to take the lead, with replacement second row Will Montgomery of Kirkbie Kendal powering over to give his side a 14-10 lead once Hodge had landed the conversion.
This persistent French side came back though, with number 8 Jordan Joseph, a real star in this Festival, blasting over to send his side back in front, with Kevin Viallard slotting the extra two for a 17-14 advantage.
France kept the pressure on, and were eventually rewarded with a penalty try to take them out to 24-14, a lead that they would hold onto for the rest of the game.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com after the game, England U18 Head Coach John Fletcher said:
“It was a much-improved performance, I thought it was a really good advert for U18s rugby and was played with a really good intent. We went ahead with not many minutes to go and were unfortunate to lose the game.”
“We’ve played well in the first half against Scotland, the second half against Italy and we performed well for most of this game. These are young players and they are in an environment where they are encouraged to try things and they will learn lots from these three games.”
“We’ve enjoyed coaching them and spending time with the players over the past 10 days and lots of them will go on to do really good things with the U20s. A few are back with us next year so we are excited about that and the past three games would have been hugely beneficial for their development.”
England U18 14-24 France U18
England U18 XV:
15 Reece Dunn (St Peter’s Gloucester & Gloucester), 14 Josh Hodge (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons), 13 Will Simonds (Henley College & Wasps), 12 Jack Reeves (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 11 Jacob Morris (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 10 Manu Vuniplola (Harrow & Saracens), 9 Blake Boyland (SGS Filton College & Bristol), 1 Bevan Rodd (Sedbergh & Sale Sharks), 2 Alfie Barbeary (Bloxham & Wasps), 3 Cal Ford (Sandbach & Sale Sharks), 4 Ben Donnell (Peter Symonds College & London Irish), 5 George Martin (Brooksby Melton College & Leicester Tigers), 6 Rob Farrar (Sedbergh & Newcastle Falcons), 7 JJ Tonks (Hartpury College & Gloucester), 8 Rus Tuima (Exeter College & Exeter Chiefs).
Replacements: 16 Samon Ma’asi (St Joseph’s College & Northampton Saints), 17 Lewis Holsey (Solihull & Worcester Warriors), 18 Jack Bartlett (Gloucester), 19 Will Montogmery (Kirkbie Kendal & Newcastle Falcons), 20 Henri Lavin (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College & Leicester Tigers), 21 Ted Leatherbarrow (Kirkham Grammar & Sale Sharks), 22 Callum Pascoe (Gosforth Academy & Newcastle Falcons), 23 George Barton (Dean Close & Gloucester), 24 Connor Doherty (Kirkham Grammar & Connor Doherty), 25 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton School for Boys & Northampton Saints), 26 Harry Barlow (Cranleigh & Harlequins).
France U18 XV:
15 Remi Brosset (Agen), 14 Erwan Dridi (Toulon), 13 Maxime Espeut (Beziers), 12 Theo Costosseque (Bayonne), 11 Romain Fusier (Grenoble), 10 Thomas Dolhagaray (Bayonne), 9 Hugo Zabalza (Bayonne), 1 Eli Eglaine (Grenoble), 2 Pierre Jutge (Colomiers), 3 Regis Montagne (Grenoble),4 Adrien Warion (Provence), 5 Gauthier Maravat (Agen), 6 Thibault Hamonou (Toulouse), 7 Yan Peysson (Colomiers), 8 Jordan Joseph (Massy).
Replacements: 16 Theo Lachaud (Toulon), 17 Enzo Baggiani (Tarbes), 18 Fabien Witz (Massy), 19 Wael May (Toulon), 20 Kevin Viallard (Brive), 21 Yoram Falatea Moefana (Colomiers), 22 Malcom Bertschy (La Rochelle), 23 Hugo Ndiaye (Provence).
U18 6 Nations Festival Results:
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 32-30 England U18
Ireland U18 28-36 Wales U18
France U18 21-24 Scotland U18
Matchday 3 – Sunday 8th April, Cardiff Arms Park
Ireland U18 17-19 Scotland U18
Italy U18 18-27 Wales U18
France U18 24-14 England U18
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 Festival – Unofficial Table*
*Using NatWest 6 Nations scoring systems.