- Tom Gorman hat-trick too much for Belgium at Wellington
- Head Coach Peter Coke delighted with festival performances
England North Under 16s produced a superb exhibition of running rugby to end the BMW Wellington International Festival with a third straight win, 46-12 over a spirited Belgium Under 17s side in Berkshire.
England North ran in eight tries, five of them in a dominant second half display, including a hat-trrick from Tom Gorman (Leeds GS, West Park Leeds RFC and Yorkshire).
It followed wins over France Under 16s B and Scotland Under 16s earlier in the week and the performance delighted Head Coach Peter Coke.
“The boys have really stepped up this week. If you look at the tries we scored out there there is a lot of talent out there,” Coke said.
“It shows you the depth we have had out there and there some boys who definitely stepped up. We showed great unity, they have enjoyed it and they have learned an awful lot this week.
“The first half against the French will probably be the highlight of the week, the way we stuck to our guns and stayed unified and believed in each other. At 16 Group level the depth of talent is strong because we have got three very good sides.”
But the Wellington Festival, which features youth teams from across Europe and North America is not about rugby.
“We are all schoolmasters here and you see the way that 15 year-old kids and the difference it makes to them, how they buy into the values and standards of what it makes to be a team,” Coke said.
“These boys have been doing their homework and prep during the week because they have got GCSEs coming up.It’s important they learn that rugby is a hobby and it’s something they enjoy but it’s something that can live and look back on.
“As a head coach I’m pleased. What more can I ask of them? Nothing really.”
England North were surprised by Belgium early on they trailed to an early try from Belgium openside Daniel Delacourt from a tapped penalty.
But England North soon regained their composure and they pulled level when prop Jack Strong (Stowe School and Buckinghamshire) drove over from close range for an unconverted try.
A well worked try from centre Clayton Dee (Churchdown School, Coney Hill RFC and Gloucestershire) after a good break from left wing Lowey Simmons (St Richard’s Catholic College, Hove RFC and Sussex) gave England North the lead and the confidence to push on.
Gorman, who started on the right wing but switched to full back for the second half, rounded off a superb handling move for his first try just before the break.
Replacement wing Thomas Somers (Easingwold School, York RFC and Yorkshire) showed his pace when he crossed for the fourth try five minutes into the second half which was improved by fly half Mark Dixon (Lymm HS, Lymm RFC and Cheshire).
Gorman’s second try extended the lead five minutes later and his hat-trick soon followed with a brilliant solo run from half-way.
Dee added the conversion and he also improved England North’s seventh try from Somers after flanker Sam Boyland (Colstons Collegiate, Clifton RFC and Bristol) counter-attacked from the re-start.
Centre Daniel Bhatti (Beford Modern School, Bedford Junior Blues and East Midlands) burst through for England North’s final score but Belgium rallied in the last ten minutes and claimed a converted consolation try.
England North drafted two players into their squad today in Toby Papp (Clyst Vale Community College, Exmouth RFC and Devon) and Jamie Pearson (Abingdon School and Buckinghamshire) to replace the injured Tyler Jerrum and Joe Lewis, who was promoted to the England South squad.