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Rugby News

Under-20s all get off to a winning start

Tommy Reffell captained Wales in their opening win of the Under-20s championship
Tommy Reffell captained Wales in their opening win of the Under-20s championship

Ben White claimed a try for England and Tommy Reffell led Wales to victory as the Leicester Tigers contingent celebrated a winning start to the Under-20s Six Nations.

Scrum-half White was in the starting line-up for his debut at this level, with clubmates Sam Lewis, Tom Hardwick and Jordan Olowofela on the bench, as England Under-20s opened the defence of their Six Nations title with a 27-17 bonus-point victory in Italy.

Ben Earl, Tom Parton and Ben Loader were the other tryscorers. James Grayson, son of former England fly-half Paul, kicking the remaining points.

Lewis, Hardwick and Olowofela all got on for the debuts in the second half, though Lewis was sin-binned with nine minutes remaining before Italy claimed a late penalty try to cut the gap to 10 points. 

Ben White England U20

England head coach Steve Bates said: “It was a really credible performance in difficult conditions. We scored four tries, we fought hard and dominated the game territorially. I thought it was a really good start.
“This is a squad full of talented players and selecting a starting 15 has not been easy and the replacements that came on did a really good job.”
Anthony Allen and Richard Blaze are among the England coaching staff as they now prepare for a second-round fixture against Wales at Kingston Park, Newcastle, next Friday.

Wales got off to a winning start too with Tigers flanker Reffell leading them to a 36-3 victory over Scotland at Colwyn Bay in a fixture refereed by former Tigers scrum-half Frank Murphy.

Corey Baldwin (2), Harri Morgan, Joe Goodchild and Dan Davies scored the tries in a bonus-point win, with Cai Evans, son of former national captain Ieuan, kicking the remaining 11 points.

Former Tigers academy wing Samayawa, now with Glasgow Hawks, was a Scotland starter alongside Archie Erskine who also spent time at Leicester. Morgan Jones, now of the Scarlets, was among the Welsh replacements and is another player with Tigers academy connections.

“It was a good start to the campaign and we’re pleased with the result,” said coach Jason Strange. “We looked like a team playing our first game at times and there’s things to work on going into the England game.”

England U20: 15 Tom Parton (London Irish), 14 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 13 Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), 12 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors), 11 Ben Loader (London Irish), 10 James Grayson (Northampton Saints); 9 Ben White (Leicester Tigers); 1 Toby Trinder (Northampton Saints), 2 Henry Walker (Gloucester), 3 Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 4 Dino Lamb (Harlequins), 5 James Scott (Worcester Warriors), 6 Sam Moore (Sale Sharks), 7 Ben Earl (Saracens)(c), 8 Tom Willis (Wasps). Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre (Wasps), 17 Alex Seville (Gloucester), 18 Joe Morris (Worcester Warriors), 19 Sam Lewis (Leicester Tigers), 20 Josh Basham (London Irish), 21 Rory Brand (London Irish), 22 Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), 23 Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers)

Wales U20: Cai Evans (Ospreys); Joe Goodchild (Dragons), Corey Baldwin (Scarlets), Callum Carson (Ospreys), Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets); Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues), Harri Morgan (Ospreys); Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues), Iestyn Harris (Cardiff Blues), Sam Wainwright (RGC), Jack Pope (Bridgend), Max Williams (Dragons), Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers)(c), Taine Basham (Dragons), Dan Davies (Scarlets). Replacements: Dewi Lake (Ospreys), Josh Reynolds (Dragons), Rhys Henry (Ospreys), Morgan Jones (Scarlets), Morgan Morris (Ospreys), Dan Babos (Dragons), Ben Thomas (Cardiff Blues), Tommy Rogers (Scarlets).

Scotland U20: Paddy Dewhirst (Ayr); Sam Yawayawa (Glasgow Hawks), Mark New (Glasgow Hawks), Stafford McDowell (Ayr), Kyle Rowe (Glasgow Hawks); Callum McLelland (Edinburgh), Kaleem Barreto (Marr); Shaun Gunn (Edinburgh Accies), Robbie Smith (Ayr)(c), Finlay Richardson (Edinburgh Accies), Ewan Johnson (Racing 92). Jamie Hodgson (Watsonians), Archie Erskine (Boroughmuir), Devante Onojaife (Northampton Saints), Guy Graham (Hawick). Replacements: Bradley Clements (Ealing), Nathan McBeth (Lions), Murphy Walker (Strathallan School), Harry Butler (Hartpury), Rory Darge (Melrose), Charlie Chapman (Gloucester), Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks), Rory McMichael (Glasgow Hawks).