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England U17 edge past France in close encounter

23 April 2012

  • England Under 17 side beat France at Harrow School
  • Concentrated on three key themes this season – Peel

England Under 17 28 France Under 17 24

Charlei Ewels in action for England

Photo: Getty Images

England Under 17 backed up their 33-15 win against Scotland last month with a hard fought four-point 28-24 win against France at Harrow School.

In a topsy-turvy encounter Brett Herron, Tom Howe, George Wacokecoke and Charlie Hewitt scored for England, while Herron added two points with the boot and Josh Sharp six.

France started the brighter though and scored a converted try after a clever kick through but England dominated the half, having two tries disallowed before fly half Brett Herron scored following a good carry and offload from the impressive James Chisholm.

England kept up the pressure, turning down numerous opportunities to kick at goal before Tom Howe rewarded his side with a try after a strong break by skipper Nick Tompkins to make the score 12-7 to England at the break.

The home side started the second half as they had finished the first, attacking the French line and sub Stuart Townsend’s smart kick set up George Wacokecoke to win a foot race and score in the corner to make it 17-7.

France began to retain some possession and got their second try of the afternoon after a nice passage of play and a good conversion from wide out closed the gap to three points. But England pushed again and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts converted by Josh Sharpe to make the score 20-14.

The pendulam then looked to have swung in France's favour after England were reduced to 13 men. First Tom Howe was sin binned for a deliberate knock-on before Matt Bolwell was given a yellow card for pulling down the maul. The French pack scored from the resulting lineout through a driving maul to edge in front 21-20.  

Twists and turns in Harrow

England U18 Head Coach John Fletcher

Photo: Getty Images

England managed to maintain their tempo despite the two man disadvantage and were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, converted by Sharp to hand England back the lead. But in another twist, the French reclaimed the advantage after they were given a penalty for offside to go 24-23 up with minutes left.

As the clocked ticked England managed to grab possession and began their charge up the pitch, after considerable pressure on the French line Charlie Hewitt crashed over the whitewash for a tight but deserved victory to round of the Under 17’s unbeaten two game programme.

Coaches John Fletcher, Ian Peel and Pete Walton were delighted with the result and the performance in what was a very physical game. Peel said: “We’ve concentrated on three key themes this season and really drilled those down in to the lads – sometimes you can try and do too much at this age and we felt that it is important to just focus on the three areas highlighted by the national academy coaches.

“We did very little team preparation and told the players that they will be judged on their ability to catch and pass – leading to basic phase shape, ball carry – leading to off load and the breakdown and tackle – leading to ruck defence.”

Fantastic all year – Fletcher

Fletcher said: “The Under 17 programme underpins what we are trying to do at Under 18 and Under 20 level. The lads have been fantastic all year and deserve the results in both games this season.

"As always it is not just the result, it is the manner of the result. We outplayed a strong French team in most areas and certainly looked more dangerous with the ball in our hands.”

Walton added: “Without wanting to sound like a broken record; the community game, regional academies and the national programmes are working really well.”

Points: Herron 1T, 1C, Howe 1T, Wacokecoke 1T, Hewitt 1T, Sharp 2P

England Under 17 starting XV

15 Richard Mathieson (St Pauls Barnes) (London Wasps)
14 Howard Packman (Moulton College) (Northampton Saints)
13 Nick Tompkins (Oaklands College) (Saracens)
12 Max Clark (Bryanston School) (Bath Rugby)
11 George Wacokecoke (St Joseph’s College) (Northampton Saints)
10 Brett Herron (Wellington College) (London Irish)
9 James Mitchell (Lymm School) (Sale Sharks)

1 Lewis Boyce (MacMillan Academy) (Leeds Carnegie)
2 Matt Beaty (Lancaster Grammar) (Sale Sharks)
3 Luke Chapman (Truro College) (Exeter Chiefs)
4 Jordan Onojaife (Stowe School) (Northampton Saints)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bryanston School) (Bath Rugby)
6 Dan Grange (Prince Henry Grammar School) (Leeds Carnegie)
7 Ellis Genge (Hartpury College) (Bristol Rugby)
8  James Chisholm (Brighton College) (Harlequins)


16 Paul Hill (Prince Henry Grammar School) (Leeds Carnegie)
17 Matt Bolwell (Truro College) (Exeter Chiefs)
18 Charlie Hewitt (Ivybridge Community College) (Exeter Chiefs)
19 Jack Walker (Settle School) (Leeds Carnegie)
20 Stuart Townsend (Ivybridge Community College) (Exeter Chiefs)
21 Josh Sharp (Oaklands College) (Saracens)
22 Louis Clayton-Malloy (Harrow School) (London Wasps)
23 Tom Howe (Shiplake College) (London Wasps)
24 Will Owen (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1st) (Leicester Tigers)