- England Under 20 lose out to South Africa in Cape Town
- Fifteen points from Tommy Bell not enough
South Africa Under 20 28 England Under 20 15
Photo: Getty Images
England Under 20 went down 28-15 to a clinical South Africa at the Cape Town Stadium in the IRB Junior World Championship. After a low scoring, but physical, first half the Baby Boks came out of the blocks all guns blazing in the second period scoring four tries on the way to a bonus point win.
The loss means England will not contest the semi finals for the first time since the competition’s inception in 2008. Instead they prepare for a 5th place semi final against Six Nations rivals Ireland.
Head Coach Rob Hunter’s side had the first chance to get on the scoreboard but first Tom Heathcote and then Tommy Bell missed difficult kicks.
England were forced into making a 30th minute change when fly half Heathcote went off with a knock and was replaced by Ben Ransom, with Bell moving to No. 10.
Bell got the first points of the game, kicking three points from just over halfway to make it 3-0 at the break.
After a low-scoring first 40, the second half brought 17 points in just eight minutes. Bell’s second successful kick was sandwiched between two well-worked tries for the Baby Boks.
Photo: Getty Images
First William Small-Smith ran clear to score before Shaun Adendorff made the score 14-6 with 30 minutes left to play.
A couple of quick-fire Bell penalties again brought England to within a point, but South Africa hit back with two tries to claim the crucial bonus point.
Another Bell penalty got England to within 13 points and two converted tries would have been enough to send England through, but the breakthrough never came.
Captain Chris Walker was understandably upset with the result: “We’re absolutely gutted to be honest,” he said. “We thought we contained them well in the first half and perhaps edged it, but credit where it’s due, they really turned it on in the second 40 and we struggled.
“But there are still two games to play and while we’re obviously fairly down at the minute, we’ll pick ourselves up and we’ll be ready to take on the Irish.”
England points: Bell 5P.
Starting XV against South Africa
15 Tommy Bell (London Wasps)
14 Marland Yarde (London Irish)
13 Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
12 Ryan Mills (Gloucester Rugby)
11 Charlie Walker (Harlequins)
10 Tom Heathcote (Bath Rugby)
9 Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby)
1 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
2 Koree Britton (Gloucester Rugby)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
4 Sam Twomey (Harlequins)
5 George Merrick (Harlequins)
6 Billy Vunipola (London Wasps)
7 Chris Walker (Leeds Carnegie) (C)
8 Jack Clifford (Harlequins)
16 Nathan Morris (London Wasps) on for Koree Britton 62 mins
17 Alec Hepburn (London Wasps) on for Luke Cowan-Dickie 62 mins
18 Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks) on for Kyle Sinckler 67 mins
19 David Sisi (London Irish) on for George Merrick 70 mins
20 Ben Nutley (Northampton) on for Billy Vunipola 42 mins
21 Ben Spencer (Saracens) on for Dan Robson 67 mins
22 Josh Bassett (Bedford Blues) on for Charlie Walker 55 mins
23 Ben Ransom (Saracens) on for Tom Heathcote 30 mins