- Strong start for England sides at Wellington Festival
- Festival features teams from across Europe and North America
England’s two Under 16s sides in the BMW Wellington International Festival made successful starts to the tournament in Berkshire on Sunday (March 31).
England North beat France Under 16s B 27-26 and England South snatched a 22-22 draw with France A thanks to a last-gasp try from wing Jack Zilch and touchline conversion from Owen Waters.
England North went 17-0 up at one stage but France rallied strongly and might have snatched victory had they not missed a last-minute penalty.
Wing Joe Lewis (Wellington School, Wellington RFC and Somerset) scored two tries with his fellow wingman Tom Gorman (Leeds GS, West Park Leeds RFC and Yorkshire) crossing for the other.
Fly-half Mark Dixon (Lymm HS, Lymm RFC and Cheshire) converted all three of the tries and he also kicked two penalties to help England North hold of the French fightback.
England South had to come from behind to snatch their draw in the second match on the second day of the festival, which features teams from across Europe and North America.
France were 22-5 up at one stage but England South nibbled away at the lead and Zilch (Tiverton School, Chippenham HS and Dorset & Wilts) crossed far out with the final play of the game and Waters (Kingswood School, Chippenham RFC and Dorset & Wilts) landed the conversion from the touchline via the crossbar.
England’s first try was scored by Paolo Odogwu (KES Birmingham, Walsall RFC and Staffordshire) and the second, which set up the grandstand finale, from full back Sam Rees (QEH Bristol, Winscombe RFC and Somerset).
Waters converted two of the tries and he also kicked a penalty.
England North will play Netherlands Under 17s in their second match at the BMW Wellington International Festival on Tuesday, April 2 (11am). England South play Scotland Under 16s on April 3 at 2.30pm.
The Festival continues on April 1 with Wales Under-16s a facing Scotland on the first XV pitch at 11am with United States Under 17s playing Belgium Under 17s on Pitch 2 at 1pm.