England U18 beat Scotland 36-21 in a thrilling game at Billingham RUFC on Sunday afternoon.
Just 24 hours after seeing their senior sides put on one of the most extraordinary games of rugby of all time, the two U18 sides kept the entertainment going on the artificial surface of Billingham.
England took a 21-14 lead into half time after Oakham scrum half Jack Van Poortvliet crossed the line after a cheeky dummy to open the scoring, with Sedbergh fly half Tom Curtis converting.
Scotland responded though, Merchiston Castle’s Dan Gamble crossing the whitewash with Loretto’s Nathan Sweeney converting, only for Curtis to dance over in response for England for a try, which the Sale Sharks man then converted himself.
One again though Scotland came back, this time through another Merchiston Castle man, Jamie Dobie, with Sweeney again leveling the game. Once more then, England had to re-establish the lead and did so right at the stroke of half time when the excellent St George’s College Weybridge hooker Sam Riley barged over to give his side a 21-14 half time lead with Curtis’ conversion.
Curtis’ Sale Sharks teammate, Tom Roebuck of Wirral Grammar, scuttled over to extend that lead early in the second half, only for Scotland to start clawing back one again as a remarkable third Merchiston Castle star crossed the line, Matthew Currie, sixth Sweeney again converting.
There was to be no Twickenham style comeback though as England took control of the game as the clock ticked on with Denstone College wing Joe Browning crossing for England’s fifth try before Roebuck collected his brace to leave England with a 36-21 lead as they closed out the game.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com after the game England U18 head coach Jim Mallinder said:
“We’ve very pleased with that performance, this was a new side coming together, their first game of the year and we played well against a spirited Scotland side who were very competitive at the breakdown and made it difficult for us.”
“Our shape was good, as was the continuity of our play and this shows that we’ve got some good players who can play an exciting brand of rugby which is what we want, but also that we have variety in our game as shown today. Our set piece was strong which is also pleasing, our breakdown is an area we need to look at and we never like to concede tries so there is work to do.”
Wales comeback against France
Wales meanwhile came back from 15-0 down at half time to beat France 31-22 in Colwyn Bay, scoring five tries in the process including a brace for Carrick McDonough and a try for Hartpury College wing Louis Rees-Zammit.
Rees-Zammit was one of two Welsh Exiles in the starting fifteen, with Whitgift fly half Ed Dunford also in the side, Dunford landed three conversions for his haul of six points. Meanwhile the bench saw three more Exiles, Eastbourne College’s Theo Bevacqua, RGS Worcester’s Thomas Matthews, and Millfield’s Dan John.
England now head on to host France at Cheshunt RFC on Sunday, with an U19 international against Wales a fortnight later.
All four sides then head to the U18 6 Nations Festival in April, along with Ireland and Italy, which this year England host at Hartpury College. The teams play three games each with Hartpury College, Sixways Stadium, and Kingsholm Stadium hosting the matches.
Full Time Scores:
England U18 36-21 Scotland U18
Wales U18 31-22 France U18
England U18 :
15 George Worboys (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
14 Joe Browning (Leicester Tigers & Denstone College)
13 Louis Hillman-Cooper (Gloucester & Cheltenham College)
12 Phil Cokanasiga (London Irish & St Pauls Catholic College)
11 Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks & Wirral Grammar)
10 Tom Curtis (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh)
9 Jack Van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers & Oakham)
1 Harry Fry (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
2 Sam Riley (Harlequins & St George’s College, Weybridge)
3 Jenson Boughton (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
4 George Martin (Leicester Tigers & Brooksby Melton College)
5 Archie Benson (Gloucester & Dean Close)
6 Josh Gray (Gloucester & Dean Close)
7 Xavier Hastings (Bath & Bishop Wordsworth’s)
8 Nahum Merigan (Bath & Beechen Cliff)
Replacements: 16 John Stewart (Bath & Beechen Cliff ), 17 Luke Green (London Irish & St Paul’s Catholic College), 18 Fin Baxter (Harlequins & Wellington College), 19 Ewan Richards (Bath & Millfield), 20 Will Trenholm (Harlequins & Cranleigh), 21 Raphael Quirke (Sale Sharks & St Ambrose College), 22 Orlando Bailey (Bath & Beechen Cliff), 23 Jude Williams (Wasps & Caterham).
Scotland U18 Squad:
Ben Mace (Stirling County)
Jamie Drummond (Marr)
Scott Clelland (Ayr)
James Johnstone (Preston Lodge/Preston Lodge HS)
Cole Lamberton (The Royal HS)
Dan Gamble (Merchiston Castle)
Alex Samuel (Madras/St Leonard’s/Madras Rugby)
Struan Whittaker (Edinburgh Accies)
Gregor Brown (Robert Gordon’s College)
Josh King (Queen Victoria/Stirling County)
Rory Jackson (Kelvinside Academy)
Ben Muncaster (Rugby/Leicester Tigers)
Eck Allan (Preston Lodge/North Berwick High School)
Harri Morris (George Watson’s College)
Rhys Tait (Sedbergh)
Jamie Dobie (Merchiston Castle)
Cameron Scott (Preston Lodge/Preston Lodge HS)
Cameron Scott (George Watson’s College)
Alex Harley (George Watson’s College)
Scott King (Heriot’s)
Matthew Currie (Merchiston Castle)
Tom Jones (Bristol Bears/SGS Filton College)
Finlay Callaghan (Hillhead Jordanhill)
Nathan Sweeney (Loretto)
Harry Paterson (Fettes College)
Cameron Furley (Saracens)
Wales U18 XV:
15 Jacob Beetham (Cardiff Blues), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit (Hartpury College & Exiles), 13 Mason Grady (Cardiff Blues), 12 Bradley Roderick (Ospreys, captain), 11 Carrick Modonough (Dragons), 10 Ed Dunford (Whitgift & Exiles), 9 Dylan Davies (Dragons), 1 Samuel O’Connor (Scarlets), 2 Oliver Burrows (Ospreys), 3 Iestyn Haskins (Cardiff Blues), 4 Rhys Anstey (Cardiff Blues), 5 Christ Tshiunza (Cardiff Blues), 6 Rhys Thomas (Ospreys), 7 Harri Deaves (Ospreys), 8 Evan Lloyd (Cardiff Blues).
Replacements: 16 Rhodri King (Scarlets), 17 Theo Bevacqua (Eastbourne College & Exiles), 18 Lewys Jones (Ospreys), 19 Joe Peard (Dragons), 20 Harry Breeze (Scarlets), 21 Ethan Lloyd (Cardiff Blues), 22 Thomas Matthews (RGS Worcester & Exiles), 23 Daniel John (Millfield & Exiles).
England U18 Squad v France – Cheshunt RFC, Sunday 24th March, 2pm
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps & Bloxham)
George Barton (Gloucester & Dean Close)
Harvey Beaton (Saracens & Sutton Valence)
Archie Benson (Gloucester & Dean Close)
Jack Clement (Gloucester & Cheltenham College)
Tom Curtis (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh)
Theodore Dan (Saracens & Alleyn’s)
Josh Gillespie (Northampton Saints & Millfield)
Josh Gray (Gloucester & Dean Close)
James Harper (Sale Sharks & Merchant Taylor’s)
Louis Hillman-Cooper (Gloucester & Cheltenham College)
Joe Howard (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
Louis Lynagh (Harlequins & Hampton)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers & Brooksby Melton College)
Chunya Munga (London Irish & Leighton Park)
Zac Nearchou (Wasps & Radley College)
Max Ojomoh (Bath & KES Bath)
Raphael Quirke (Sale Sharks & St Ambrose College)
Jack Reid (Harlequins & Wellington College)
Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks & Wirral Grammar)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers & Norwich)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers & Oakham)
James Whitcombe (Leicester Tigers & Woodhouse Grove)