England Under-20s, led by Leicester Tigers flanker Emeka Ilione, ended the Six Nations Summer Series with defeat by hosts Italy on Tuesday evening.
There were five tries in the first half of the tournament’s third-place play-off in Treviso, with Italy leading 29-19 at the break.
Leicester fly-half Jed Walsh was a late call-up to the England starting line-up, though he picked up a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on as Italy were awarded a penalty try during the first half.
They extended that lead to 35-19 before back-rower Ilione grabbed a close-range score, latching on to ball claimed by Tigers colleague Lewis Chessum who has also started all four games in Italy.
Skipper Ilione, in his 10th appearance at this level, won a priceless turnover on his own five-metre line with just nine points between the teams entering the final quarter and England then clawed their way back to trail 31-35.
But after missing three penalties in the last half-hour, a 78th-minute Italian kick pushed that gap out to seven points and secured a third-place finish on home territory.