- Olver penalty gives England three from three
- Ireland await in the last four
England U20 17 Argentina U20 16
A late Sam Olver penalty gave England Under 20 a 17-16 win against Argentina at North Harbour Stadium, Auckland. The reigning champions now face Ireland in the Junior World Championship semi-final, a contest Head Coach Nick Walshe says is “relishing”.
In torrential rain, Olver hit three penalties to Argentina’s two in the opening 25 minutes to put England 9-3 up.
Argentina captain Patricio Fernandez hit one back for Argentina before the break to make it 9-6, which is how it stayed until early in the second 40 when Fernandez levelled the game at nine-apiece.
Photo: Getty Images
The breakthrough eventually came with 55 minutes played – England managed to get the ball through the hands and a quick pass from Aaron Morris found wing George Catchpole waiting out wide to dive over.
Olver’s conversion sailed just wide, and the miss looked as if it may prove costly as Argentina scored late on, which was superbly converted by Fernandez from the touchline.
England piled on the pressure in the dying minutes and were rewarded with a 79th minute penalty which Olver coolly slotted over to make it 17-16.
Walshe said: “The conditions were extremely tough, but it was the same for both teams and we’re just pleased to get the win. We know that we can play better, and we’ll have to up our game for the semi-final. We’re relishing the opportunity to play Ireland, they’ve had a good competition so far and it’ll be a good game.”
Captain Callum Braley added: “It’s never easy playing in wind and rain like that, but the lads fronted up and did well to get over the line. We’re looking forward to the semi-final now. We’re three games into a five game competition and have two massive matches coming up.”
Points: Olver 4P; Catchpole 1T
England U20 starting XV against Argentina
15 Aaron Morris (Bedford Blues)
14 George Catchpole (Leicester Tigers)
13 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12 Tom Stephenson (Northampton Saints)
11 Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers)
10 Sam Olver (Northampton Saints)
9 Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby, captain)
1 Alex Lundberg (London Wasps)
2 Jack Walker (Leeds Carnegie)
3 Biyi Alo (Saracens)
4 Jordan Onojaife (Northampton Saints)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
6 Hayden Thompson-Stringer (Saracens)
7 Cameron Neild (Sale Sharks)
8 James Chisholm (Harlequins)
16 Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby) on for Cameron Neild 65 mins
17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints) on for Alex Lundberg 66 mins
18 Harry Rudkin (Leicester Tigers) on for Biyi Alo 40 mins
19 Maro Itoje (Saracens) on for Charlie Ewels 40 mins
20 Gus Jones (London Wasps) on for Jack Walker 55 mins
21 Henry Taylor (Loughborough University) on for Callum Braley 68 mins
22 Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
23 Nathan Earle (Saracens)