- Late Alex Lundberg try gives England Under 18s win
- I could see my heart pumping – Sam Olver
England U18s 17 Wales U18s 15
A last-gasp try from prop Alex Lundberg and a pressure conversion from fly half Sam Olver gave England Under 18s a 17-15 win against Wales at Outeniqua Park in George.
England had trailed 15-10 with time up before Lundberg spotted a gap and crashed through.
Head Coach John Fletcher’s side started the brighter of the two sides and were ahead with less than a minute on the clock when the ball fell to scrum half James Mitchell who made no mistake touching down in the corner.
Photo: RFU Archive
Wales saw two kickable penalties sail wide of the posts as both sides cancelled each other out. A quick burst from wing Nathan Earle gave England good field position with 30 played but Wales cleared their lines as the half drew to a close.
The Welsh started the second half as England started the first – scoring a try within 60 seconds. A smart break infield from the Welsh fly half eventually freed up wing Ashton Hewitt, who out-paced the English defence to go over the line.
Wales extended their lead with 50 played when inside centre Garyn Smith went over to make it 12-5. England fly half Josh Sharp then saw two penalties sail wide before England’s young guns eventually turned possession into points when wing Josh Skelcey dived over, but replacement No. 10 Olver’s conversion fell just short.
With just two points between the sides at 12-10 Wales forced a penalty to make it 15-10 with under a minute to go before Lundberg’s try and Olver’s conversion gave England the win.
Photo: RFU Archive
Fletcher said: “It was a high pressure kick for Sam but I’m not surprised that he knocked it over – he has a fantastic attitude and I had every faith in him. I don’t want to sensationalise him but he certainly has the attitude and the character of some of the best fly half’s that I’ve worked with. He's done a lot of work with kicking coach Jon Callard - as has Josh Sharp - and I thought we kicked intelligently today, which is a credit to the lads, and to JC.
“We always knew that this was going to be a tough game, the conditions probably didn’t help – it was pretty wet. But saying that, I was pleased with the way the forwards played, the backs didn’t get going as much as we would have liked, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Focus is now on our final game against France and we want to end the tour on a real high.”
Olver added: “I could see my heart pumping through my chest as I was about to take the kick! I knew after we scored the try that it was 15-15 and that the pressure was on. But I just focused on my routine and I was delighted to see it fly between the sticks. It’s why you put the hours in on the training ground, and although you can’t replicate the pressure, you can replicate your process, and like I say – I was just over the moon that it went over and that we got the win.”
Points: Mitchell 1T, Skelcey 1T, Lundberg 1T; Olver 1C
England Under 18s side against Wales
1 Luke Chapman (Truro College & Exeter Chiefs) 2 Jack Walker (Prince Henry's & Leeds Carnegie) 3 Paul Hill (Prince Henry's Grammar & Leeds Carnegie) 4 Josh Peters (Oundle School & Northampton Saints) 5 Charlie Ewels (Bryanston & Bath Rugby) 6 Hayden Stringer (Oaklands & Saracens) 7 Will Owen (QE Leicester & Leicester Tigers) 8 James Chisholm (Brighton College & Harlequins) (C) 9 James Mitchell (Lymm School & Sale Sharks) 10 Josh Sharp (Oaklands College & Saracens) 11 Tom Fowlie (St Pauls Catholic College & London Irish) 12 Rory Jennings (Bryanston School & Bath Rugby) 13 Max Clark (Bryanston & Bath Rugby) 14 Josh Skelcey (Moulton College & Northampton Saints) 15 Nathan Earle (Oaklands & Saracens)
16 Cameron Neild (Manchester Grammar & Sale Sharks) on for Jack Walker 56 mins 17 Alex Lundberg (Hampton School & London Wasps) on for Luke Chapman 44 mins 18 Ciaran Parker (St Ambrose & Sale Sharks) on for Paul Hill 64 mins 19 Tom Ellis (Millfield & Bath Rugby) on for Josh Peters 44 mins 20 Lewis Ludlow (Hartpury College & Gloucester Rugby) on for Hayden Stringer 53 mins 21 Ellis Genge (Hartpury College & Bristol Rugby) 23 Sam Olver (Oundle School & Northampton Saints) on for Josh Sharp 56 mins 24 Nick Carpenter (Filton College & Bristol Rugby) on for Tom Fowlie 35 mins