England Under 20s crowned Junior World Champions

England U20sJack Nowell and Sam Hill scored two late tries as England came from behind to be crowned Junior World Champions for the first time beating Wales 23-15 in the final in France today.
Nick Walshe’s men were trailing 15-3 after 55 minutes but two tries and 20 unanswered points in the last quarter of the game brought them at the top of the world at the fourth time of asking.
England, who lost three previous JWC finals against New Zealand, went into the game as Six Nations champions after their 28-15 win against the Welsh back in March but they struggled at first against a Welsh side full of confidence after their last-gasp win over South Africa in the semi-finals.
The Welsh youngsters threw the ball around in attack to move a physical England side while their blitz defence put huge pressure on the English.
But despite being down to 14 men at the start of the second half and having two tries disallowed, England never lost belief and, helped by their fitter and stronger pack, they first came into the game before taking a lead they wouldn’t let go.
Henry Slade missed an early penalty and three minutes later Wales scored the opening try of the game.
Fly-half Sam Davies first found winger Ashley Evans with a delayed pass to break the line and a few phases later, the two combined again this time Davies with a sublime cross-field kick to see Evans beat Ben Howard and dive in the corner.
Slade made amends for his early miss to reduce the score but ten points in two minutes saw Wales open a 12-point lead after 25 minutes.
Davies kicked a penalty before Evans grabbed his second with a 50-metre interception try as England tried to move the ball wide.
Using their powerful pack, England got back into the game and as the clock went red, Leicester’s lock Tom Price thought he scored but the try was disallowed for foul play.
Leeds’ Dominic Barrow was found guilty of striking Welsh captain Ellis Jenkins with his knee and he was sent to the bin so England would start the second half with 14 men and trailing 15-3.
England did well to hold on without conceding any more points but, when they seemed to have struck back, replacement prop Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi was denied for crawling on the ground.
It didn’t damper their ambitions though and, two minutes later, full-back Nowell reduced the gap with a strong run.
England seemed to have found a new gear and Hill put them in front for the first time of the game soon after bulldozing his way over from close range.
The English power took over from then and Slade sealed the deal with two penalties in the last ten minutes.
For England U20s
Tries: Nowell, Hill
Conversions: Slade 2
Penalties: Slade 2
Sin bin: Barrow
For Wales U20s
Tries: Evans  2
Conversions: S. Davies
Penalties: S. Davies
England U20s: Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs); Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Harry Sloan (Harlequins), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Howard (Worcester Warriors); Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Alex Day (Northampton Saints); Alec Hepburn (London Wasps), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons); Tom Price (Leicester Tigers), Dominic Barrow (Leeds Carnegie); Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Matt Hankin (Saracens), Jack Clifford (Harlequins, Capt.).
Replacements: Scott Spurling (Saracens), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints), Tom Smallbone (London Irish), Harry Wells (Leicester Tigers), David Sisi (Bath Rugby), Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby), Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby), Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers).
Wales U20s: Jordan Williams (Scarlets); Ashley Evans (Ospreys), Steffan Hughes (Scarlets), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Hallam Amos (Dragons); Sam Davies (Ospreys), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets); Gareth Thomas (Scarlets), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys); Carwyn Jones (Scarlets), Rhodri Hughes (Ospreys); Jack Jones (Ospreys), Ellis Jenkins (Blues, Capt.), Ieuan Jones (Dragons).
Replacements: Ethan Lewis (Blues), Thomas Davies (Blues), Dan Suter (Ospreys), James Benjamin (Dragons), Daniel Thomas (Scarlets), Joshua Davies (Dragons ), Owen Jenkins (Blues), Thomas Pascoe (Blues).
NICK VERDIER

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