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Gray inspires U20s to win against Wales

05 February 2011

  • U20s emulate England men with RBS 6 Nations win in Wales
  • Tries from Elliott, Kvesic and Gray ensure perfect start for Rob Hunter's side

Wales U20 20 England U20 26

England captain Alex Gray runs at Welsh defenders

Photo: Getty Images

England U20 got their 6 Nations campaign off to the perfect start, securing an impressive 20-26 victory against Wales at the Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.

Rob Hunter’s men looked strong throughout and the win ensured double celebration for England’s teams this weekend, with the seniors triumphing in Cardiff on Friday night.

Things didn’t start so well for the England, after a scrappy opening ten minutes the away side found themselves 7-0 down courtesy of a converted Edward Higgardy try following a quick break from the pacy Wales No. 10 Matthew Morgan.

Minutes later England made it one try apiece. A quick passing move between the backs opened things up for London Wasps centre Elliot Daly who drew the defender in before offloading to Northampton Saints wing Jamie Elliott who dived over in the corner. Leicester Tigers fly half George Ford was unable to convert from a difficult angle.

Wales extended their lead through the boot of Morgan on 23 minutes, making the score 10-5. This sparked England into life as Mako Vunipola came close to burrowing over before the second try eventually came from Worcester’s Matt Kvesic, converting after a strong burst forward from Ford, who added the conversion.

England maintained their pressure and scored again soon after, courtesy of captain Alex Gray (Newcastle Falcons) who dashed through the posts, Ford added two more with the boot to make the score 10-19.

Kvesic tries put England in charge 

George Ford kicks for goal for England U20

Photo: Getty Images

Moments later England got their fourth try, the impressive Kvesic jumped and caught an England kick down field before showing a quick turn of pace to score a try Wales really should have prevented.

A late penalty for Wales brought them back to within 13 points at half time with the score 13-26.

England’s flowing, expansive rugby deserted them in the second half as they were pushed onto the back foot. With fifteen minutes left to play Wales pressed hard and were almost rewarded after a strong drive from the forwards, the ball did cross the line but was deemed not to have been touched down by the third match official.

With England camped in their own 22, they then had to cope with the sin-binning of Sale Sharks prop Henry Thomas by Irish referee Dudley Phillips. Wales soon capitalised on their man advantage, carving out space for No. 8 Ben Thomas who scored to bring the home side to within a converted try of the lead at 20-26 with ten to play.

Wales, roared on by local support, continued to push but England’s defence stood firm and held out for the win.

Speaking after the victory, No. 10 George Ford was delighted to secure the win, he said: "It's hard coming to Wales and play such a passionate and skilful side but we attacked well in the first half and defended well in the second half. We can't be too hard on ourselves, it's a win in Wales and they don't come along too often so we're delighted."

England U20 starting XV
Player Club
15 Ben Ransom Saracens
14 Andy Short Worcester Warriors
13 Elliot Daly London Wasps
12 Ryan Mills Gloucester Rugby
11 Jamie Elliott Northampton Saints
10 George Ford Leicester Tigers
9 Dan Robson Gloucester Rugby
1 Mako Vunipola Bristol Rugby
2 Mike Haywood Northampton Saints
3 Henry Thomas Sale Sharks
4 Kieran Low London Irish
5 Charlie Matthews Harlequins
6 Matt Kvesic Worcester Warriors
7 Matt Everard Leicester Tigers
8 Alex Gray (C) Newcastle Falcons
Replacements
Player Club
16 Rob Buchanan on for Haywood (54 mins) Harlequins
17 Ryan Bower on for Vunipola (54 mins) Leicester Tigers
18 Addison Lockley Exeter Chiefs
19 Ollie Stedman on for Everard (62 mins) Leeds Carnegie
20 Chris Cook Bath Rugby
21 Guy Armitage on for Daly (75 mins) London Irish
22 Christian Wade on for Short (54 mins) London Wasps