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Rugby News

England 'unbelievably happy' with cleansweep

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Jack Van Poortvliet captained England to a Grand Slam in the Under-20s Six Nations after completing a cleansweep with victory over Italy on Tuesday.

Leicester Tigers scrum-half Van Poortvliet led England in each game of the Championship, beginning with a man-of-the-match display in a 38-22 victory over France.

He scored a try in the 31-12 win over Scotland, which England backed up with defeat of Ireland (24-15) and scored again in a 45-3 win over hosts Wales before a final-round victory over Italy (27-17).

Tigers colleagues Archie Vanes and Emeka Ilione were also involved in the unbeaten run with their first appearances at Under-20s level.

“We are unbelievably happy,” Van Poortvliet said at full-time. “I haven’t been with them all year but the boys have worked hard as a group throughout what has been a tough year. I’m proud of the effort they’ve shown, the courage and couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Tries from Orlando Bailey and Jack Bates got England off to a fast start in the win over Italy in Cardiff, leading 17-0 in the first quarter.

But Italy fought back, despite conceding an Arthur Relton try early in the second half, and provided a stern test as they got back into the game at 22-17.

Tigers hooker Vanes was on the pitch from the 50th minute and it was Relton who grabbed the bonus-point score in the closing 10 minutes to ease the tension and ensure a fifth successive win.