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England and Scotland Record Under-18 Festival Wins

England and Scotland Record Under-18 Festival Wins

England and Scotland have both got off to a winning start in the 2008 Under-18 Six Nations Festival in Cork. The English ran out comfortable 78-8 winners over Italy at Temple Hill, while Scotland squeezed past France in a thrilling 10-8 victory at Cork Institute of Technology.

2008 UNDER-18 SIX NATIONS FESTIVAL: Wednesday, March 26

ENGLAND U-18 78 ITALY U-18 8, Temple Hill, Cork Constitution FC (Att: 500)

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Scorers: England: Tries: Jacob Rowan, Sam Smith, David Blackwell, Christian Wade, Jamie Currie, Rory Clegg, Freddie Burns, Tom Catterick, Alex Gray, Sam Harrison, Andy Forsyth, Mako Vunipola; Conversions: Freddie Burns 5, Rory Clegg 4

Italy: Try: Nicola Corbanese; Pen: Enrico Michelini

Match Photo Gallery

Alex Sanderson’s English side were 40-8 up at half-time at the home of Cork Constitution FC and continued to pile the pressure on the Italians after the break with a flurry of well-taken tries.

In all, the boys in white ran in 12 tries in an accomplished display, topped off by nine conversions which kickers Freddie Burns and Rory Clegg shared out.

Second row Jacob Rowan, one of three players who featured in last year’s Festival squad, began the rout with a try in the fifth-minute, after a surging run from centre Tom Homer.

The second try followed just a minute later when winger Sam Smith touched down after being set up by captain Tom Casson. Burns converted both efforts.

A lineout move put hooker David Blackwell over from close range and another converted score, this time from winger Christian Wade who linked well off a scrum with Rob Milligan, put England 26-0 in front.

Just 18 minutes in, England had their fifth try on the board when prop Jamie Currie barged over. Italy hit back with Nicola Corbanese cutting through for his side’s only try, which out-half Enrico Michelini augmented with a quick penalty goal.

Still, England had time to end the opening half with yet another try as Rory Clegg, on as a blood replacement, crossed the whitewash and converted for a 40-8 interval buffer.

There was no let up from Sanderson’s charges after the break. Freddie Burns, restored to the out-half berth, scorched over for a try in the first-minute.

Tom Catterick, Alex Gray, Sam Harrison, Andy Forsyth and Mako Vunipola also added their names to the scoresheet, with Gray’s score perhaps the best of the night following a brilliant break by his fellow replacement Tom Holmes.

With his team due to face Scotland and France over the next week, English coach Sanderson said: “This is a great start to the tournament. I couldn’t have hoped for much better. The lads have come off the pitch elated but tired too and now they know they must recharge their batteries for another two games in seven days.

“What was most pleasing was that the team kept to the structures and the principles we have been working hard at for the last seven months even when we were far ahead in the game.”

2008 UNDER-18 SIX NATIONS FESTIVAL: Wednesday, March 26

SCOTLAND U-18 10 FRANCE U-18 8, Cork Institute of Technology (Att: 500)

Scorers: Scotland: Try: Craig Owenson; Con: Alex Blair; Pen: Alex Blair

France: Try: Kevin Legeun; Pen: Amaury Geneste

At Cork IT, a try from prop Craig Owenson just before the interval had Scotland 7-0 in front, with out-half Alex Blair supplying the conversion.

The French mounted a comeback with Kevin Legeun touching down and his Begles club-mate Amaury Geneste landing a penalty goal. However, Blair’s only successful penalty was enough to see the Scots to an opening day win.

Scotland assistant coach Graham Marshall said afterwards: “We were pleased with our first half performance though we didn’t convert as many chances as we would have liked to. However, we were disappointed with the second half because we made a lot of mistakes and let France right back into it.”