England U19 secured an impressive 31-15 victory against Wales U19 at Bridgend RFC on Sunday.
Wales had beaten Japan in two prior games, while for England this was a first and only hit out at U19 level for the season, featuring a number of players who have either not had too much U20 action this year or who will fall outside of the age limit for the upcoming U18 Six Nations Festival.
England U18 Head Coach Jim Mallinder took charge of the England side while Geraint Lewis was in charge of a Wales side that included five players from the Welsh Exiles system in the 23, former Sherborne man Max Ayling and ex Bryanston scrum half Ellis Bevan on the bench, with Leo Gilliland, formerly of Brooksby Melton College, on the wing, Exeter University’s Olly White in the second row, and Hampton’s Gwilym Bradley on the flank.
Bradley’s schoolmate Louis Lynagh was on England’s right wing, and his strong work helped England to a 7-3 half time lead thanks to a try from Rugby School scrum half Jonny Law, converted by Newcastle Falcons full back Josh Hodge, formerly of Sedbergh School and one of four Sedbergh players or ex players in the 23, with fellow old boyBevan Rodd at loosehead, and current vice captain Will Haydon-Wood at fly half, with current Sedberhg skipper Tom Curtis on the bench.
Wales meanwhile were on the board thanks to a penalty from Ospreys’ Josh Thomas. England’s Law was one of three age-grade debutants in the England starting side, with ex Wellington College flanker Izaiha Moore-Aiono and former Cranleigh second row Hugh Tizard the others. Tizard was one of two Cranleigh leavers in the side, outside centre Harry Barlow being the other.
The second half saw the game open up more, and indeed it was Wales who seized they early initiative as they stole the lead with a try through tighthead Luke Yendle, converted by Thomas.
England quickly responded to going 10-7 behind though as the Wasps academy front row stepped up, Bloxham sensation Alfie Barbeary and Radley College’s Zac Nearchou punching holes and showing great hand before Hartpury College’s Joe Howard crashed over. Howard was joined in the side by two former Hartpury College stars, Jacob Morris on the left wing and Jack Reeves at inside centre.
Hodge converted and then landed a long-range penalty before replacement back rower Jack Clement of Cheltenham College went steaming over, with the excellent Hodge again converting.
Then came England’s final try, a clever kick into space finding Morris before good hands from Curtis and Lynagh found Hodge to go scything over for a very well-earned try, which he converted for a 31-10 lead.
Wales showed good spirit though and hit back for a consolation through their own full back Harri Doel, but it was not enough to change the result, leaving the final score at 31-15 in England’s favour.
It may have been the last U19 work of the season, but for three of England’s squad, Tom Curtis, Jack Clement, and St Ambrose College’s Raphael Quirke, the international action continues with the U18 6 Nations Festival, which begins this Saturday with England U18 v Wales U18. The U20s in the squad meanwhile will be competing for places in the squad for the World Rugby U20 Championships in Argentina this June.
Speaking to www.englandrugby.com after the game, Jim Mallinder said: “It’s nice to win but the purpose of this game was to look at the talent coming through and we’ve certainly done that.”
“We’ve learned a lot about our players, we don’t have too much time together as a team, so to see them working together in this type of fixture in invaluable. Some will now go with our U20s to the World Rugby U20 Championship, some will go on to the U18 Six Nation Festival and others will be pushing for U20 Elite Player Squad inclusion next season.”
“It was great competitive game, both sides played well and we certainly managed to play with attacking intent in the second half so we’ve taken a lot out of it.”
Full Time: Wales U19 15-31 England U19
15 Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons & ex Sedbergh)
14 Louis Lynagh (Harlequins & Hampton)
13 Harry Barlow (Harlequins & ex Cranleigh)
12 Jack Reeves (Gloucester & ex Hartpury College)
11 Jacob Morris (Gloucester & ex Hartpury College)
10 Will Haydon-Wood (Newcastle Falcons & Sedbergh)
9 Jonny Law (Leicester Tigers & Rugby)
1 Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks & ex Sedbergh)
2 Alfie Barbeary (Wasps & Bloxham)
3 Cal Ford (Sale Sharks & ex Sandbach)
4 Will Montgomery (Newcastle Falcons & ex Kirkbie Kendal)
5 Hugh Tizard (Harlequins & ex Cranleigh)
6 Joe Howard (Gloucester & Hartpury College)
7 Izaiha Moore-Aiono (London Irish & ex Wellington College)
8 Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs & ex Exeter College)
Replacements: 16 Ben Atkins (London Irish & ex St Paul’s Catholic College), 17 Zac Nearchou (Wasps & Radley College), 18 James Whitcombe (Leicester Tigers & Woodhouse Grove), 19 Freddie Lockwood (Newcastle Falcons & Barnard Castle), 20 Jack Clement (Gloucester & Cheltenham College), 21 Raphael Quirke (Sale Sharks & St Ambrose College), 22 Tom Curtis (Sale Sharks & Sedbergh), 23 Josh Gillespie (Northampton Saints & Millfield).
15 Harri Doel (Scarlets)
14 Leo Gilliland (Exiles, Brooksby Melton College)
13 Joe Roberts (Scarlets, captain)
12 Osian Knott (Scarlets)
11 Jay Jones (Wales 7s)
10 Josh Thomas (Ospreys)
9 Dafydd Land (Scarlets)
1 Garyn Phillips (Cardiff Blues)
2 Cameron Lewis (Cardiff Blues)
3 Luke Yendle (Dragons)
4 Olly White (Exiles, Exeter University)
5 James Fender (Ospreys)
6 Ioan R Davies (Cardiff Blues)
7 Gwilym Bradley (Exiles, Hampton)
8 Morgan Strong (Ospreys)
Replacements: 16 Dom Booth (Scarlets), 17 Dylan Bartlett (Dragons), 18 Adam Thomas (Scarlets), 19 Max Ayling (Dragons), 20 Benji Hoppe (Dragons), 21 Ellis Bevan (Exiles, ex Bryanston), 22 Evan Lloyd (Dragons), 23 Dean James (Scarlets).