- England Under 18 coach Pete Walton on the future
- Proud of the way the forwards played – Walton
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With a maiden FIRA/AER European Championship winners medal safely in the trophy cabinet, England Under 18 Forwards Coach Pete Walton has reflected on the competition and heaped praise upon his pack.
England backed up wins against Georgia and Wales with a final victory against Ireland in Madrid, a deserved triumph according to Walton.
“I’m really proud of the way the forwards played, not just in the final but throughout the season. We’ve had a tough year but they’ve all come together and have been very effective as a unit. The guys committed to what we wanted to do and we’ve got the results at the end of it.
“You can see from the amount of tries the forwards scored in the competition [seven of the 14] that their all round game has developed too, and that’s one of the most positive things.”
One facet of England’s game that worked particularly well was the driving maul – something Walton says was the result of lots of hard work on the training ground.
Photo: Getty Images
“We scored some good tries from that route – teams tried to stop it, but we were very powerful. The lads really bought into it. But as a group, the line out was good and the scrum was dominant – we’ve had Ian Peel in to help with the front row and that’s been brilliant.”
With last season’s front row Kyle Sinckler, Scott Spurling and Luke Cowan-Dickie now representing England at Under 20 level, Walton says that the conveyor belt is moving faster than ever.
“We’ve got a few guys who I’m sure will make it all the way through and perhaps a few who will take a little bit longer to develop.
“But we’ve got four or five forwards who can still play for us next season which is really exciting, and they’ll benefit from having been with us this year. But at the same time there are players from the Under 17 side breathing down their necks.”