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Will Carpenter

writes

Posted Monday, April 22nd 2019

U18 Six Nations: Wales and England lose, last-gasp Scotland win

It was a mixed bag of results for the three Bristol Bears Academy players on international duty in the final round of fixtures in the U18 Six Nations.

Jack Bates started on the wing in England U18’s 40-19 defeat at the hands of France at Kingsholm, while Ioan Lloyd’s Wales U18 also fell to defeat, going down 32-13 to Italy U18.

But there was a win for Tom Jones’ Scotland U18, with the centre among the replacements as they edged Ireland U18 42-40 in a high-scoring thriller.

England had recorded victories over Wales and Ireland in the tournament but could not overcome France on Sunday.

Jim Mallinder’s side trailed at the break, scoring a try through Jude Williams with Tom Curtis contributing eight points while France crossed via Killian Tixeront, Matthias Haddad Victor and Gabin Michet.

Second-half tries for Tixeront, Nathan Le Garrec and Noe Valles sealed victory for France with Curtis kicking all of England's points.

"It was a disappointing performance and a disappointing way to end the festival,” said Mallinder.

Jack Bates on the attack for England U18 (LNC Images).

“We knew we needed to improve to take on this very good France side but they were better. They attacked with real intent and we just couldn’t stop them.

"Hopefully the players would have learned a lot from the three Test matches and what it takes to play international rugby against these top teams. When you are not quite on it, like we were today, with our set piece and defence not good enough then you get punished.

"We need to learn the lessons from this performance. Some of these players will come with us on tour to South Africa in the summer and others will move into our U20 programme and these fixtures will be important in their development."

Wales U18 produced a heroic defensive effort in the first half and held Italy to 10-10 at the break, but in the second half Italy stormed to victory with elusive running and a killer cutting edge.

Ioan Lloyd (LNC Images).

Lloyd kicked two penalties and a conversion for Chris Horsmann’s side, but the Italians proved too strong at Kingsholm.

Scotland U18 finished their U18 Six Nations campaign on a high, edging out Ireland in breathless second-half which culminated in a last gasp try by Finlay Callaghan while the clock was in the red.

Scotland U18 Head Coach, Ross Miller, said: “The players work rate in the heat today was phenomenal. The group has come together well over the past few months and obviously we faced a few challenges against Italy and Wales from a performance perspective, but we really tightened the group up.

"The guys are obviously really pleased with the result but as always it's about what key learning we can take from the experience. The character and effort from the group can't be faulted today."

Tom Jones (centre) (LNC Images).