- England Women U20 slip to second defeat at Nations Cup
- Three tries for Amanda Bennett's side not enough against hosts Canada
England Women U20 15 Canada Women U20 43
England Women U20 suffered their second defeat of the U20 Nations Cup after they were beaten 43-15 by a well-disciplined Canada side at Trent College in Long Eaton.
The hosts started brightly with some excellent pressure in the Canada half but were soon pegged back and gave away consecutive penalties in the 22 which allowed hooker Emily Barber to drive over for a try from a five-metre lineout. Jess Neilson converted to give Canada a 7-0 lead.
This was extended just a few minutes later when Emily Belchos outpaced the England backline to go over in the corner following a well-executed series of pick and goes, with Neilson again adding the extras.
Canada’s third try was a carbon copy of their first after a five-metre lineout resulted in a drive over the line for flanker Daria Keane.
At 19-0 down, Amanda Bennett’s side needed to start the second half strongly and Bianca Blackburn provided the impetus required, capitalising on a Canada error to swipe the ball from the back of the scrum and cross for the visitors’ first try.
After the Worcester scrum half’s score proceedings further turned England’s way within ten minutes when some switch play led to Blackburn’s Worcester teammate Lauren Chenoweth powering over in the corner, making the score 19-10.
However, Canada reasserted their authority straight from the restart with an excellent move allowing Belchos to grab her second try of the match. Neilson continued her impressive performance with the boot – prompting a flurry of points of her own – by adding the third conversion.
She scored the first penalty of the game and then her first try following another excellent run through the England defensive line by Breanne Nicholas. Unsurprisingly, Neilson again sent the conversion through the uprights.
The action was coming thick and fast and England added to the scoreboard when Rosie Kells went over the line. A series of penalties led to the ball being moved wide and the Hartpury wing outpaced her opposite number to add to her try in England's opening defeat to South Africa.
Canada replied within minutes when the ball was moved out wide and Belchos used the pace already demonstrated for her first two scores to step through the defence and touch down for her hat trick, again converted by Neilson.
England Head Coach Bennett said: “Credit to Canada, they performed well, but also credit us, we showed a lot of character at the start of the second half to come back into the game and we never gave up.
“We pushed Canada until the final whistle and I thought that our scrum looked good, particularly in the last 20 minutes – so there are positives to take.
“We spoke before the game about what it means to play for England and I’m pleased with effort that we put in – it was disappointing to lose, but we’ll take some time to reflect, we’ll learn from our mistakes and we’ll look forward to taking on USA.”
England Women U20 vs Canada
Name (Club, CB, Division, AASE Programme)
15 Georgia Peedle (Saracens, Hertfordshire, LSE)
14 Rosie Kells (Hartpury, Gloucestershire, South West)
13 Rochelle Smith (Saracens, Surrey, LSE)
12 Lauren Chenoweth (Worcester, Cornwall, South West)
11 Sophie Lee (Durham University, Durham, South West)
10 Rebecca Scholes (Glossop, Cheshire, North, Moulton College)
9 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West) (VC)
1 Abigail Parsons (Reading, Berkshire, South West, Hartpury College)
2 Lucy Aylesbury (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)
3 Ellie Prescott (Waterloo, Lancashire, North)
4 Courtney Gill (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West)
5 Ellie Gattlin (Saracens, Eastern Counties, LSE)
6 Rebecca Trist (Tyldesley, Lancashire, North, Moulton College)
7 Kayleigh Callaway-Bawden (Bristol/Penryn, Cornwall, South West) (C)
8 Fran Hall (Richmond, Hampshire, LSE)
16 Charlie Notman (Bristol, Cornwall, South West)
17 Amy Needham (DMPS, Northumberland, North)
18 Catherine Pugh (Saracens, Essex, LSE)
19 Jo Brown (DMPS, Durham, North)
20 Lark Davies (Worcester, North Midlands, Midlands)
21 Devon Holt (Reading, Berkshire, South West, Hartpury College)
22 Holly Molesworth (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West)
23 Chelsey Fuggle (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands)