A packed Netherdale enjoyed a full-on end-to end game of rugby tonight (Friday 7 February) as Scotland under-20 took on their English counterparts.
Both sides were looking to avenge their respective defeats – against Ireland and France – last weekend but of the nine tries scored, just two went on the young Scots’ scoresheet.
The defending under-20 6 Nations champions were altogether a bigger, faster, stronger and more experienced outfit, with many of the players competing regularly in the Amlin and Heineken competitions.
Head coach Sean Lineen said: “We have a very young group compared with last year, they tried hard but that’s a pretty good England team and they scored some cracking tries. Their re-alignment was outstanding – they got around us, got through us, over us. We scored a couple of good tries but we fell off too many tackles. We never gave up, though, which is what you’d expect from a Scottish team.
“I thought the scrum at times was very good, there were some good individual performances – Jack Cosgrove at loosehead, Tommy Spinks [pictured above getting to grips with Alex Lundberg] never gave up, even when he had cramp he sprinted back to kick the ball out, Damien Hoyland played well, Neil Herron put in a shift in the centre tackling.
“But we tackled too high, the guys got tired, England were just better than us – they play at a much higher level. We are getting better – no doubt about that – but these guys will get there.”
The home side, however, were the first to get on the score sheet within the first two minutes, an early penalty coolly slotted by Ben Chalmers, making his second start for the side.
England immediately bounced back with two tries, one converted, within ten minutes, extending their lead by a further seven points before Scotland answered with a try, the result of a period of concerted pressure, from hooker Sam James (pictured below)
The 8-19 gap was increased two minutes before the half-time whistle, though, when Burns added another penalty.
As the referee continued to let the game flow, the second half was as much of a torrent as the first 40 minutes. England's third try of the night came around 45 minutes, sparking the Scots into action who retaliated thanks to substitute Chris Dean's score, ably converted by Ben Cooper.
With a sinking sense of familiarity, however, England bounced back immediately, Kibirige completing his brace then Itoje launched himself over the whitewash.
Kibirige was then sent to the sin bin but England still forced their way over for try number seven late on, scored by James Chisholm to seal victory.
(pic Buchan Richardson and D'arcy Rae break through)
Scotland under-20 team
15 Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies)
14 Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) **
13 Blair Hutchison (Loughborough/Melrose)
12 Neil Herron (Glasgow Hawks/Scotland 7s) **
11 Damien Hoyland (Melrose) *
10 Ben Chalmers (Melrose)
9 Ben Vellacott (Worcester Warriors/Hartpury)
1 Jack Cosgrove (Worcester Warriors)
2 Sam James (London Wasps)
3 D’arcy Rae (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors) **
4 Andrew Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)
5 Glen Young (Newcastle Falcons)
6 Buchan Richardson (London Scottish)
7 Tommy Spinks (London Scottish) (captain)
8 Magnus Bradbury (Boroughmuir/Edinburgh Rugby) **
16 James Malcolm (Ayr) * (on for Carmichael, rrmO
17 Philip Cringle (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh Rugby) ** (on for Rae, 40m)
18 Chris Barnes (Glasgow Hawks) (on for James, 74m)
19 Lewis Carmichael (Melrose) * (on for G Young, 55m)
20 Sam Pecqueuer (Loughbourgh University) (on For Hutchison)
21 Murdo McAndrew (Clermont Auvergne) (on for Vellacott, 40m)
22 Ben Cooper (Boroughmuir) (on for Chalmers, 40m)
23 Chris Dean (Edinburgh Accies/ Scotland 7s) ** (on for R Young, 40m)
* member of Scottish Rugby’s Regional Academy supported by sportscotlandInstitute of Sport Images
** Elite Development Player 2013/14
15 Nathan Earle (Saracens)
14 Zach Kibirige (Newcastle Falcons)
13 Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12 Tom Stephenson (Northampton Saints)
11 Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers)
10 Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby)
9 Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby, captain)
1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints)
2 Jack Walker (Leeds Carnegie)
3 Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie)
4 Maro Itoje (Saracens)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
6 Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby)
7 Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)
8 James Chisholm (Harlequins)
16 Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby)
17 Alex Lundberg (London Wasps) (on for Hobbs-Awoyemi, 45m)
18 Harry Rudkin (Leicester Tigers)
19 Tom Ellis (Bath Rugby) (on for Moriarty, 49m)
20 Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs) (on for Owen, 45m)
21 Stuart Townsend (Exeter Chiefs)
22 Sam Olver (Northampton Saints) (on for Burns, 45m)
23 Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (FFR)
RBS Man of the Match: Damien Hoyland