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England U20 battle to victory over France

Despite being reduced to 12 men in the closing stages of the match, England U20 held on to beat France 29-20 in round two of the Six Nations Summer Series.

A tentative start to the game saw both side's kickers miss early penalties at Payanini Center, first it was Auriac of France inside the opening four minutes, followed by England's Fin Smith just moments later.

The men in blue had a try disallowed on 14 minutes, as scrum half Jauneau was judged to have been offside from the chip-and-chase of full back Auriac, and sensing frustration in the French after their prop Thomas Moukoro was shown a yellow card, England began to build momentum in the match.

Advantage of the extra man was taken immediately, as Ewan Richards scored two tries in five minutes - both in the same corner. In claiming the first the second row extended his arms over the whitewash as he was being guided into touch before dotting down, whilst the second was a bulldozing crash ball off the back of a George Hendy break, and successive carries into the French 22. Smith converted one to hand Alan Dickens' side a 12-0 lead.

However, restored to 15 men, Auriac bagged an easy three-pointer on the half hour mark, before hooker Montgaillard's converted try cut the deficit to two points at the break.

The teams traded territorial kicks at the game's resumption, but it only took five minutes for one to be charged down, as Ethan Grayson got a hand on the clearance of opposite man Gailleton. The Northampton Saint gathered before offloading into the path of Conor Oresanya, who scored the easiest of tries, and Smith's conversion made it 19-10.

Auriac notched up his eighth point courtesy of another penalty, but it was answered by a Smith effort in the 54th minute - which was his final part in the game, replaced due to injury.

France had a second try disallowed on the hour mark; replacement number eight Tixeront was the benefactor at the back of a dominant scrum, but the TMO saw a knock on and intervened before the conversion was taken, and it was ruled out.

England were reduced to 14 men as Hendy was shown yellow for a high tackle, and shortly after they were down to 13 - replacement Tom Carr-Smith sin binned for deliberately slapping the ball out of play on the try line. France were awarded a penalty try to make it 22-20.

Two men down with 17 minutes to play in the match, England mustered heroic energy to march their way into the French 22, where another flurry of cards followed. First, Boudou of Les Bleues saw yellow, then replacement Andrew Turner of England was shown red for a high tackle.

Jed Walsh scored a superb solo try with eight minutes remaining - England's fourth - and converted it, to restore a nine point lead, and England held on to record a famous victory in Verona.

  • England: Tries - Richards (2), Oresanya, Walsh Cons - Smith (2), Walsh Pens - Smith
  • France: Tries - Montgaillard, PT, Cons - Auriac, Pens - Auriac (2)

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