England’s luck runs out against the Irish as they face Australia clash
England U20 12 Ireland U20 27
BEDFORD Blues winger and former Harlington and Barton schoolboy Josh Bassett was left disappointed as England U20s lost 27-12 to Six Nations rivals Ireland at the University of Western Cape, South Africa at the weekend.
Bassett played 70 minutes, dual-registered Saracens team-mate Ben Ransom the whole game and former Luton Rugby starlet Ben Nutley came on as a 55th-minute substitute but none of them could save England from defeat.
The result means England will play Australia for seventh place in the IRB Junior World Championship.
Tries from Chris Walker and Henry Slade were not enough for England and Ireland will now face France at Newlands Stadium for a tilt at fifth spot in the competition.
An early break from Will Addison almost got England off to a dream start, but the Sale Sharks wing was stopped just short of the line and it was Ireland who got the first try of the evening.
Wing Barry Daly pounced on a loose England pass to run in from just over half way.
The men in green got their second score after 17 minutes, back-row Iain Henderson got on the end of a well-worked attack before JJ Hanrahan slotted a simple penalty to make it 17-0 at the break.
England made four changes for the second period with Ross Harrison, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Max Crumpton and Marland Yade all coming on and the effect was immediate.
England got their first try of the game 90 seconds into the half as a strong break from Yarde was eventually finished in the corner by captain Chris Walker – his first try for the U20s.
Walker’s joy was short-lived though as he was sent to the sin-bin after 55 minutes and Ireland immediately increased the gap to 15 with a second Hanrahan penalty to make it 20-5.
Wing Yarde followed Walker into the bin as England continued to press and replacement Billy Vunipola was denied a try after being held up over the line.
Despite being camped in the Irish half, one lapse in concentration freed up Jordan Coghlan to cross for Ireland’s third try before a late England rally gave fly-half Slade the chance to touch down wide of the posts to make it 27-12, but it wasn’t enough.
Captain Walker said: “We’re frustrated with the result, ultimately we gave ourselves too much to do. I felt like we had a lot of possession, particularly in the second half, but a few too many errors sneaked into our game and that’s what has cost us.
“We still have Australia to play and that’s a game we’re desperate to win. We’ll review this game before focusing all of our attention on them and hopefully doing the Rose proud.”
England U20 v Ireland U20: 1 Alec Hepburn (London Wasps), 2 Nathan Morris (London Wasps), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), 4 Dominic Barrow (Leeds Carnegie), 5 George Merrick (Harlequins), 6 David Sisi (London Irish), 7 Chris Walker (C, Leeds Carnegie), 8 Jack Clifford (Harlequins), 9 Ben Spencer (Saracens), 10 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), 11 Josh Bassett (Bedford Blues), 12 Ryan Mills (Gloucester Rugby), 13 Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), 14 Will Addison (Sale Sharks), 15 Ben Ransom (Saracens). Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton (Saracens) on for Nathan Morris 40 mins, 17 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs) on for Alec Hepburn 40 mins, 18 Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks) on for Kyle Sinckler 40 mins, 19 Billy Vunipola (London Wasps) on for George Merrick 50 mins, 20 Ben Nutley (Northampton) on for Jack Clifford 55 mins, 21 Dan Robson (Gloucester Rugby) on for Ben Spencer 50 mins, 22 Tommy Bell (London Wasps) on for Josh Bassett 70 mins, 23 Marland Yarde (London Irish) on for Will Addison 40 mins. T: Chris Walker, Henry Slade. C: Henry Slade.