England U18s round off tour with France win
England Under 18s rounded off their three-match tour to South Africa with a hard-fought 12-8 win against cross-channel rivals France at Boland Rugby Stadium in Worcester.
In windy conditions, tries from London Wasps wing Tom Howe and Sale Sharks scrum half James Mitchell helped England to the victory, while Northampton Saints No. 10 Sam Olver added two points with the boot.
After a cagey opening quarter England got the breakthrough when Howe spotted a gap in the French defence and raced in to score. Olver added the extras to make it 7-0.
With 30 on the clock France got onto the scoreboard with a penalty in front of the posts to make it 7-3, which is how it stayed until the break.
France then scored the opening try of the second period through their replacement hooker who powered his way over the line. But England hit back quickly when Mitchell spotted a gap after a strong scrum and sniped through to score.
Both sides created good opportunities as the game drew to a close but England held out for the second win of their tour.
Forwards coach Ian Peel said: “We’re really pleased to get the win – the conditions weren’t the best, it was blowing a gale out there, but we were committed and did well, particularly in the first half.
“I’m really chuffed for the lads, they’ve had an excellent year – first winning the FIRA/AER European Championship in March and then a successful summer tour. A few of these guys will be with the Under 18s next season so we’ll look forward to seeing them again, and a few will hopefully progress into the Under 20s”
Captain James Chisholm added: “We’ve had a great time out here in South Africa – we knew that today was the last time we’d all be playing together as a group and we were keen to put in a good performance. I thought that we did well in the first half but maybe dropped a little in the second, but we got the win and we’re pleased with that.”
Points: Howe 1T, Mitchell 1T; Olver 1C
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