19th Sep 2019

U18 Six Nations Festival: Matchday 2 Review

Matchday Two at the U18 Six Nations Festival saw England, France, and Wales all claim victories. 

It leaves England and France as the only two undefeated teams, and they meet in the final matchday this Sunday at Kingsholm.

England was up against Ireland, looking to add to their 38-20 victory over Wales, while Ireland was looking to bounce back after a narrow 29-24 defeat to France last time out.

France had actually got the day underway at Sixways with a thrilling 40-32 victory over an Italy side that for a while were looking like they might produce a comeback of even more drama than their 19-18 victory over Scotland last time out.

Up next were England and Ireland who played out a tight and fairly cagey opening spell of the game, Orlando Bailey and Chris Cosgrave exchanging early penalties.

Caterham’s Jude Williams started the try scoring for England though, scoring an electric first-half brace with a lovely solo effort for his first try before finishing a brilliant flowing move for his second, Bailey converting both. Between those scores, though Ireland crossed the whitewash through Ulster tighthead Oscar Egan, Cograve converting.

That left England 17-10 ahead at the break, and they stretched that out further early in the second half with an opportunistic try full of pace and power from St Paul’s Catholic College’s Phil Cokanasiga, Bailey converting for 24-10.

If anyone thought that would see England start to stretch away though they were quickly corrected as Ireland stepped up the pressure and went on to dominate the bulk of the rest of the game. They hammered away at the England line, but some magnificent England defence kept repelling them. Eventually under that sort of pressure, the dam will crack, and eventually, it did for Ireland, who took advantage of an Archie Benson yellow card for successive team penalties to cross through openside Oisin McCormack.

Still, Ireland kept coming, and with just seven points in it the were plenty of nerves in the home crowd, but England held out with some stoic defence to remain unbeaten heading into Sunday’s game with France.

Speaking to www.englandrugby.com after the game England Head Coach Jim Mallinder said: “The players will have learned how tough international rugby is after that match.”

“It was a game which was quite unusual. Ireland had so much of the ball, we defended for long periods, when we had the ball we looked really dangerous and scored some really good tries but they put us under a lot of pressure, were very good in the set piece, we probably gave away too many penalties and lacked a little discipline and that is something we need to improve on as it enabled them a chance to get really good field position.”

“Overall though, we’re happy with the victory and the players showed great character to hold out and that’s very pleasing.”

Ireland’s next game is against Scotland, who fell to a second successive defeat as they faced a Wales side that was full of energy as they bounced back from defeat to England with a 28-17 victory.

Clifton College’s Ioan Lloyd was the star of the show, scoring two tries on the way to a total of eighteen points as he moved from last week’s position of full back to the fly-half shirt for this one.

The Bristol man ran the game and was helped by a fellow Exile in the form of Hartpury College’s Louis Rees-Zammit. Rees-Zammit missed the defeat to England as he was making his senior Gloucester debut, but on his return at Sixways, he was in flying form, scoring a brace of his own.

Scotland went ahead early on through a penalty from Fettes College’s Harry Patterson but Wales responded quickly through Rees-Zammit’s first try, the Hartpury man ghosting clear after Lloyd released him.

Straight from the restart, Wales were back at it and once again Rees-Zammit raced away. With Lloyd converting both, Wales had suddenly gone from 3-0 down to 14-3 ahead.

Lloyd turned from provider to scorer for Wales third try of the half, converting his own score to give his side a 21-3 lead, Scotland managed to regroup though, scoring through loosehead Jamie Drummond from the maul, with Patterson converting, leaving the half time score at a slightly more respectable 21-10.

Shortly into the second half though Lloyd added his second, converting again to give his side a 28-10 lead that was thoroughly deserved.

Credit to Scotland though, they kept plugging away and through their own endeavour and Wales’ slipping discipline, they lost two men to the bin, they created a few chances of their own, with Paterson eventually crossing for the try, converting his own score for a personal tally of twelve points, leaving the final score at 28-17 in Wales’ favour.

The final round of games takes place at Kingsholm on Sunday, all games again live on FreeSports. Scotland and Ireland get the day underway at 11 am, with the two unbeaten sides, England and France, headlining the day at 1.40pm, Italy and Wales then round the Festival off at 4.10pm.

Article by: http://www.fifteenrugby.com


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