- Wing George Perkins seals hard-earned win for England South U16
- Coach Richard Wareham proud of his players
Photo: RFU Archive
England South Under 16 overcame stubborn resistance from Canada Under 17 to maintain their unbeaten record at the Wellington International Festival in Berkshire with a 14-10 win.
A try from right wing George Perkins (New Hall School, OB Mavericks and Essex) proved decisive after Canada had led for 25 minutes.
England South took the lead with a brilliant individual try from fly half Connor Bullivant (Northampton School for Boys, Northampton Old Scouts and East Midlands) who powered over from 25 metres out although there seemed to be little on when he was given the ball.
Full back Nick Rawsthorne (The Brooksbank School, Old Brodleians and Yorkshire) added the conversion but Bullivant was culpable at the other end when he tried to run from defence and his pass was snaffled by Canada who went over for a converted interception try.
Canada went ahead with a penalty before half time and they proved tenacious opponents at the breakdown which frustrated England South for long periods.
Rawsthorne was off target with a 40th minute penalty but an upfield punt from Bullivant caused problems for Canada’s defence who turned over possession close to their own 22.
England South moved the ball right where Bullivant made ground before he passed to the pacy Perkins who crossed for the try which Rawsthorne improved.
England South spent the last five minutes uncomfortably close to their own line while Canada battered away but their defence held firm to complete another gritty win after Sunday’s victory over Scotland Under 16.
"This is the big game for the Canadians and they were awesome in terms of their commitment, A ten o’clock start is never easy for an international rugby game but I thought our boys responded fantastically," said England South lead coach Richard Wareham.
"Their effort levels were high, they kept concentrating on the processes of what they wanted to do and they ground out the win.
"We defended really hard against Scotland and defended really well here. In the six weeks we have had the lads their effort levels have been superb and their defence has improved out of sight. I’m really proud of them."
England South bring down the curtain on the Festival on Friday, April 13 when they play Wales Under 16 A at 1pm.
England North Under 16, who are also unbeaten at the Feestival, will play Scotland Under 16s on April 13 at 10am.
"The festival gives them a taste of international rugby," Wareham said. "The Academies do a really good job in preparing the lads and they will take them away for pre-season.
"But this camp is very special. Being together with 24 people, almost being professional with their time, doing analysis and preparing for games. It’s tough, three international games in five days. But it starts the process of going from boys to men."