A late Harry Mallinder penalty put England U18s into their fourth successive European Championship final as they beat Wales 11-9 in Pobiedziska, Poland today.
Prop Jack Stanley’s early try – his second in as many games – had given England a 5-0 lead, but Wales hit back with three penalties to make it 9-5 before England fly half Theo Brophy Clews clawed one back before the break to make it 9-8.
In terrible conditions, that’s exactly how the scoreline stayed until five minutes before the final whistle when Mallinder stepped up to send his kick between the posts from just short of half way.
Wales did have their own chances to win before that, missing three penalties in the second period while England were down to 14 men with Taylor Prell in the sinbin.
Head Coach John Fletcher said: “It was almost like a winter’s day up north out there today – not only was it wet but it was extremely cold. We made mistakes, but that’s to be expected in the conditions. It’s sometimes easier not to have the ball when the weather’s like that, and to be honest it could have gone either way.
“We’re really pleased to get into the FIRA final though – the lads deserve it. They didn’t give up against a strong Welsh defence and got their reward late on.”
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