- Buck scores only try
- England win in Macclesfield heat
England Under 16s 16 Italy Under 17s 6
Photo: Getty Images
England Under 16s overcame energy-sapping heat and a big Italian pack to win the first of two internationals over the Easter Holidays at Macclesfield’s Priory Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Fly-half David Buck scored all of England’s points, including a well-taken second half try after he followed up his own kick ahead, but this was very much a team effort.
Locks Charlie Ewels and Tom Ellis gave England a solid platform in the line-outs, Cameron Neild was disruptive in the loose and left wing Colin Dickson a constant threat to the Italian defence.
But it was Buck who brought composure to a contest that was played at furious pace despite weather that was straight out of an Italian summer.
Buck calmed any early nerves he might have had by slotting a third minute penalty after Italy had drifted off side but Italy were soon level again when their fly-half Matteo Gasparini found the target.
Buck struck again after nine minutes to restore England’s lead but two missed penalties from Gaparini proved costly in such a tight contest.
England captain Nick Tompkins also played an important part in denying Italy, getting back to intercept after Gasparini broke free in the dying seconds of the first half.
Gasparini hooked another penalty attempt early in the second half which would have levelled the scores.
Instead England extended their lead when Buck’s crossfield kick bounced awkwardly for Italy on a parched pitch. Centre Daniel Spencer-Tonks sustained the attack and up popped Buck to loop round for the try which he also converted from a difficult angle.
Gasparini pulled back three points when England were penalised for taking down a scrum close to their 22.
England’s defence was tested when Italy enjoyed their best period of pressure and their forwards drove over the line but the ball was held up.
Buck settled the issue with another penalty ten minutes from time and England thought they had scored again when replacement winger Joss Linney crossed late on only to be brought back for a forward pass in the build up.
England play Wales Under 16s at Fylde RFC on Sunday April 24 (2.30pm) but they are likely to be without flanker Joshua Poole who suffered a back injury after just six minutes.
Before the match England players were joined by around 120 family members and friends for a shirt presentation ceremony at their Cheshire hotel.
England Under 16s
15 Elliot Cox (Reading Blue Coat School, Redingensians RFC, London Irish Academy and Berkshire)
14 Tom Howe (RGS High Wycombe, London Wasps Academy and Buckinghamshire)
13 Nick Tompkins (C) (Bishop Justus School, Old Elthamians RFC, Saracens Academy and Kent)
12 Daniel Spencer-Tonks (Chosen Hill School, Hucclecote RFC, Gloucester Academy and Gloucestershire)
11 Colin Dickson (Ellesmere College, Shrewsbury RFC, Worcester Warriors Academy and North Midlands)
10 David Buck (Sherborne School, Bath Academy an d Dorset & Wiltshire)
9 Simon Sexton (Wellington College, London Irish Amateurs RFC, London Irish Academy and Surrey)
1 William Hunt (Farmors School, Cirencester RFC, Gloucester Academy and Gloucestershire)
2 Matthew Beaty (Kirkham GS, Preston Grasshoppers RFC, Sale Sharks Academy and Lancashire)
3 George Buckney (Gryphon School, Sherborne RFC, Bath Academy and Dorset & Wiltshire)
4 Charlie Ewels (Bournemouth School for Boys, Bournemouth RFC, Bath Academy and Dorset & Wiltshire)
5 Tom Ellis (Millfield School and Somerset)
6 Cameron Neild (Manchester RFC, Altrincham Kersal RFC, Sale Sharks Academy and Cheshire)
7 Joshua Poole (Cokethorpe School, London Wasps Academy and Oxfordshire)
8 Charles Kingham (Felsted School, Bishop’s Stortford RFC, Saracens Academy and Hertfordshire).
Replacements (all used): Jack Barnard (Harrogate GS, Harrogate RFC, Leeds Carnegie Academy and Yorkshire), Lorcan Dow (London Oratory School, London Irish Amateur RFC, London Irish Academy and Middlesex), Joss Linney (Uppingham School, Bishop’s Stortford RFC, Saracens Academy and Essex), Alexander Lundberg (Hampton School, Wasps RFC, London Wasps Academy and Middlesex), James Mitchell (Lymm HS, Lymm RFC, Sale Sharks Academy and Cheshire), Jeremy Reason (Dulwich College, Blackheath RFC, Saracens Academy and Kent), Jonathan Spellman (Tonbridge School, Harlequins RFC, Harlequins Academy and Surrey).