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Ireland U18 12-29 England U18: Match Report

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

England U18 ran out 29-12 winners against Ireland U18 in Dublin after scoring four tries in an impressive display of free-flowing rugby at Donnybrook Stadium today (December 30).

Anthony Watson (St. George's College) got England off to a flying start in the 15th minute after he raced through several challenges to touch down, with Will Hooley (The Leys School) adding the conversion.

Ireland hit back ten minutes later through Luke McGrath who dived over after a sustained spell of Irish pressure, but with the conversion missed, England held on to a slender lead. That pressure continued right up until half time but the stout English defence held firm.

England struck first in the second half through the boot of Hooley who converted a penalty to put England 10-5 to the good.

But with 15 minutes left to play Ireland seized the initiative and scrambled the ball over the line for a disappointing try from England's point of view. With the conversion successful, England found themselves behind for the first time in the match.

England U18 full back Jack Nowell (Truro College) put the away side back in charge of proceedings with ten left on the clock, scoring a brilliant solo try in the corner. Hooley's replacement Henry Slade (Plymouth College) duly slotted over for the two extra points .

The momentum was with England now and replacement scrum half James Lightfoot-Brown (St. Paul's Catholic College) strengthened England's lead, executing a lovely team move, with Slade again adding the conversion.

Jennings rounded off the victory

With the score 24-12 England really turned on the style, demonstrating brilliant expansive rugby and in the last minute centre Mark Jennings (Myerscough College) rounded the victory off by showing a superb turn of pace to score in the corner.

Head coach John Fletcher was delighted with the way England coped with the opposition's physicality and praised the character of his players: "A lot of our players made their England debuts today, and although that showed early on, you have to remember that a lot of the lads haven't played for a few weeks because of the weather.

"As the game went on I thought we grew into it and as we introduced the substitutes the level of intensity didn't drop, in fact it probably improved if anything."

Fletcher added: "Although the 29-12 scoreline may flatter us a little, I did think that we were the better side. A win like that can provide a catalyst for our whole season and hopefully it's set the tone of what we expect."

Man-of-the-match Jack Nowell summed up the mood in the camp after what proved to be a somewhat emphatic victory: "We managed to push on in the second half and if we play like we did in the last 20 minutes in every game then we will be a force to be reckoned with.

"I was delighted to go over for my try towards the end - it was quite an important one for the team as it put some daylight between the two sides. I could feel the Irish guy breathing right down my neck so I just kicked on and went over.

"We've bonded really well as a group and as a team and I think our performance reflected the unity we've got now and it's up to us to build on that"

England U18 v Ireland U18

Player School Club

15 Jack Nowell Truro College Exeter Chiefs

14 Jack Arnott Ivybridge College Exeter Chiefs

13 Mark Jennings Myerscough College Sale Sharks

12 Sam Hill Ivybridge College Exeter Chiefs

11 Anthony Watson St. George's College London Irish

10 Will Hooley The Leys School Northampton Saints

9 Alex Day St. Joseph's College Northampton Saints

1 Luke Cowan-Dickie Truro College Exeter Chiefs

2 Nathan Morris Sedbergh School London Wasps

3 Danny Herriott Moulton College Northampton Saints

4 Dominic Barrow (C) Prince Henry's Grammar School Leeds Carnegie

5 Tom Jubb Oaklands College Saracens

6 Jack Clifford RGS Guildford Harlequins

7 Matt Hankin Haileybury College Saracens

8 David Sisi St. Paul's Catholic College London Irish


Player School Club

16 Alec Hepburn Henley College London Wasps

17 Tom Smallbone Harrow School London Irish

18 Max Crumpton Oaklands College Saracens 19 George Sandford St. Paul's Catholic College London Irish

20 Gus Jones Eton College London Wasps

21 James Lightfoot-Brown St. Paul's Catholic College London Irish

22 Mitchell Tamiau Twyford C & E High School London Wasps

23 Henry Slade Plymouth College Exeter Chiefs


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