- England U20 to face South Africa in JWC final
- It doesn’t get much bigger – Nick Walshe
England U20 42 Ireland U20 15
England Under 20s are through to their third Junior World Championship final in four years after a five-try 42-15 victory against Ireland at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
Nick Walshe and Ian Peel’s side will face South Africa in the final at Eden Park on Friday, kick off 8.35am BST.
Photo: Getty Images
Tries from Harry Sloan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Howard Packman, Tom Woolstencroft and Gus Jones set England on the way to victory, while Billy Burns added two penalties and four conversions, and Packman a drop goal.
England made an uncompromising start and were 13-0 up with 10 minutes on the clock. Burns slotted over a penalty, before Sloan picked a great line to crash over. The Gloucester Rugby fly half added the extras before scoring his second three-pointer soon after.
Ireland hit back with a penalty from Ross Byrne after they had been close to crossing the whitewash, but England soaked up the pressure and Hobbs-Awoyemi ran through a gap to score minutes later.
England had their third try of the half when Burns’ accurate cross-field kick found Packman in space. The Saints flyer still had much to do but stepped his man and dived between the posts.
A delicate grubber-kick from loose-head prop Hobbs-Awoyemi put pressure on Ireland who ran the ball into touch in their own 22. From the resulting line-out Woolstencroft went over from the back of a rolling maul.
Photo: Getty Images
In the second half Ireland upped their game and put England under pressure. An opportunistic Packman drop goal made it 34-3, but Ireland had their first try soon after for 34-10.
Gus Jones then went over for England's final try, again from the back of a rolling maul – his second of the JWC, before Ireland scored their second try to round off the scoring.
Head Coach Nick Walshe said: “We’re pleased with how we played – particularly in that first half, we challenged the guys to start well and they delivered. Ireland were physical and caused us problems, but we dealt with them well.
“It feels just as special this year as it did last – South Africa will provide a real test for us, but we’re excited – it doesn’t get much bigger.”
Points: Sloan 1T, Hobbs-Awoyemi 1T, Packman 1T, Woolstencroft 1T, Jones 1T; Burns 2P, 4C, Packman 1DG
England U20 starting XV against Ireland
15 Aaron Morris (Bedford Blues)
14 Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)
13 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12 Harry Sloan (Harlequins)
11 Nathan Earle (Saracens)
10 Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
9 Henry Taylor (Loughborough University)
1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints)
2 Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby)
3 Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens, captain)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
6 Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby)
7 Gus Jones (London Wasps)
8 James Chisholm (Harlequins)
16 Jack Walker (Leeds Carnegie) on for Tom Woolstencroft 52 mins
17 Alex Lundberg (London Wasps) on for Dann Hobbs-Awoyemi 52 mins
18 Harry Rudkin (Leicester Tigers) on for Paul Hill 65 mins
19 Hayden Thompson-Stringer (Saracens) on for Maro Itoje 60 mins
20 Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs) on for Ross Moriarty 54 mins
21 Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby) on for Henry Taylor 47 mins
22 Sam Olver (Northampton Saints) on for Billy Burns 58 mins
23 Henry Purdy (Leicester Rugby) on for Nick Tompkins 65 mins