England U18 secured their second victory of the season on Sunday with a 33-12 defeat of France.
It sends them into April’s U18 Six Nations Festival with a perfect 2/2 record having beaten Scotland the weekend before.
The young English side led by an impressive 26-0 margin at half time, scoring four tries in the process through Sale Sharks’ Tom Roebuck, KES Bath’s Max Ojomoh, Millfield’s Josh Gillispie, and Bloxham’s Alfie Barbeary, who only a week before was playing for England U20.
Dean Close fly half George Barton added three conversions for the half time lead, but things were much tighter in the second half, with France actually outscoring England through two Paul Mallez scores to England’s one through Sale Sharks scrum half Raphael Quirke, his clubmate Tom Curtis of Sedbergh school converting.
It was a last outing in U18 colours for a number of the England players, who will not be eligible for the U18 Six Nations Festival with its eighteen years old on January 1st age-limit.
Those players will likely have the opportunity to play in the England U19 international against Wales in Bridgend ahead of the Festival though.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com after the game, England U18 Head Coach Jim Mallinder said:
“We are really pleased, especially in the first half when we were outstanding, we’ve only really had two days training so to put together a performance like that was a real credit to the players. Defensively we were very good, especially in that first half, and to score five tries is testament to the hard work of the squad.”
“We’ve got a good group, defensively you see the spirit of the team, our set piece worked well in the first half and we scored some good tries.”
“We need to try and continue to move the team forward now. Some of these players will be involved in the U19 fixture and others at the Six Nations Festival in April. So we want to see them continue to improve and develop during those games.”
England U18 XV:
15 Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers & Norwich), 14 Louis Lynagh (Harlequins & Hampton), 13 Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks & Wirral Grammar), 12 Max Ojomoh (Bath & KES Bath), 11 Josh Gillespie (Northampton Saints & Millfield), 10 George Barton (Gloucester & Dean Close), 9 Raphael Quirke (Sale Sharks & St Ambrose College), 1 Zac Nearchou (Wasps & Radley College), 2 Alfie Barbeary (Wasps & Bloxham), 3 James Whitcombe (Leicester Tigers & Woodhouse Grove), 4 George Martin (Leicester Tigers & Brooksby Melton College), 5 Archie Benson (Gloucester & Dean Close), 6 Joe Howard (Gloucester & Hartpury College), 7 Jack Reid (Harlequins & Wellington College), 8 Jack Clement (Gloucester & Cheltenham College).
Replacements: 16 Theodore Dan (Saracens & Alleyn’s), 17 Luke Green (London Irish & St Paul’s Catholic College), 18 James Harper (Sale Sharks & Merchant Taylor’s), 19 Ewan Richards (Bath & Millfield), 20 Josh Gray (Gloucester & Dean Close), 21 Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers & Oakham), 22 Tom Curtis (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh), 23 Louis Hillman-Cooper (Gloucester & Cheltenham College).