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England U21s on Grand Slam Journey

By Dave Barton RFU Press Office 25/2/06
March 17 2006

England U21s team led the way last night with a resounding win over Scotland U21s 49- 22 and kept their Under-21 Grand Slam ambitions on track with a six-try victory at Falkirk Stadium.


Man-of-the-match Anthony Allen, scrum-half Ben Foden and wing Thom Evans grabbed a brace each as England turned a 17-15 half-time lead into a second-half waltz.  Jim Mallinder’s side now head to Perigneux in a fortnight to face the French for a match that will ultimately decide the destination of the championship.

Gloucester centre Allen said: “We got caught on the back foot a bit at the beginning but we held them off and then in the second half we got back to our game-plan. We were going into the wind but we played for territory and kept hold of the ball. They lived off our mistakes but we stuck with it and blew them away in the second half.”   Allen benefited on both his tries from some slick work by fly-half Ryan Lamb and added: “Lamby held the ball up well and I just slipped through the gap.”

Coach Dorian West said: "We had a good week in training and we had our game-plan but we hadn't bargained on the strong wind. We made some mistakes and conceded some points but we also played some excellent rugby. We needed to play the style we worked on and when we did that we got the job done."

England almost got on the score sheet as early as the third minute when Matt Cornwell sped on to Lamb’s pass but the captain was held up short of the line.

However, three minutes later Foden raced in from 40 metres after full-back Mike Brown caught a Scottish chip, wriggled out of the chaser’s tackle and sped down the line before releasing his scrum-half.     But that was the end of England’s initial ascendancy as first Alan MacDonald was propelled across the line from a scrum and then No 8 Michael Robertson took advantage of the space on Topsy Ojo’s vacant wing to dive over.

In between, Lamb kicked a penalty when Scotland were penalised for collapsing the scrum in front of their own posts.

England looked set to grab a second try just before halftime but as they pressed the line, Lamb’s pass was intercepted and Scotland’s length of the field riposte was only snuffed out when Foden touched down the chip ahead beyond his own line.

It was left to London Wasps winger Evans to take England into the break ahead when he stood up his opposite number Ben Addison and then left him helpless on the 22. Lamb converted for that two-point advantage.   England came out of the blocks firing with Allen crossing after just six minutes from Lamb’s late pass and the No 10 added the extras to an earlier penalty to take them 27-15 ahead.

But the impetus was lost when Neil Briggs was sin binned for killing the ball and Scotland took advantage of the extra man for Garry Law to go over with David Blair converting.   The Lamb-Allen partnership worked a treat in the 53rd minute with an almost identikit try as the fly-half’s pass on the gain-line left the centre a simple side-step to go in.

Evans used his pace for England’s fifth try when he collected Jordan Crane’s pass on the Scottish 22 to race in and Lamb converted.   Foden, not to be outdone in the double stakes, raced in after Ojo’s catch and 30-metre break and though Lamb’s conversion hit the post on a rare miss, England were out of sight.


Scotland U21s: J King (Border Reivers), Melrose and East of Scotland Institute of Sport); B Addison (Stirling County & Central Institute of Sport), B Cairns (Edinburgh Gunners, Currie & Scottish Institute of Sport), G Law (Border Reivers), L Kibble (Border Reivers, Biggar & East of Scotland Institute of Sport); D Blair (Sale Sharks, captain), G Laidlaw (Jed-Forest); R Grant (The Army), S Crombie (Aberdeen GSFP & Grampian Institute of Sport), D Young (Leicester Tigers), J Eddie (Glasgow Warriors, Ayr & West of Scotland Institute of Sport), I Nimmo (Leicester Tigers), S Newlands (Heriot’s & East of Scotland Institute of Sport), A MacDonald (Edinburgh Gunners & Scottish Institute of Sport), M Robertson (Hawick). Replacements (used): K Traynor (Edinburgh Gunners, Boroughmuir & East of Scotland Institute of Sport), C Forrester (GHA & West of Scotland Institute of Sport), R Miller (Melrose), I Kennedy (Glasgow Warriors, Glasgow Hawks & West of Scotland Institute of Sport), R Cairns (Boroughmuir).

Scorers: Tries: MacDonald, Roberston, Law; Pen: Blair; Cons: Blair (2)

England U21s: M Brown (NEC Harlequins); T Ojo (London Irish, N Abendanon, Bath Rugby 67), M Cornwell (Leicester Tigers, captain, T Masson NEC Harlequins 71), A Allen (Gloucester), T Evans (London Wasps); R Lamb (Gloucester), B Foden (Sale Sharks, N Runciman, Worcester Warriors 71); D Hartley (Northampton Saints, A Rogers, NEC Harlequins 74), N Briggs (Sale Sharks), D Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, M Lambert, NEC Harlequins 74), R Blaze (Worcester Warriors), T Croft (Leicester Tigers, T Ryder, Saracens 67), J Haskell (London Wasps, A Rogers, NEC Harlequins 56-59), M Hills (Sale Sharks), J Crane (Leeds Tykes, C Robshaw NEC Harlequins 74).

Picture of England U21 Anthony Allen   Picture of England U21 Thom Evans  Picture of England U21 Ben Foden   Picture of England U21 Ryan Lamb

Scorers: Tries: Allen (2), Evans (2), Foden (2); Pens: Lamb (3); Cons: Lamb (5)


England U21s Six Nations Rugby Fixtures for 2006.  

Fri 3/2/06 England v Wales Worcester PRFC 26-18
Thu 9/2/06 Italy v England Biella  RFC  3 -48
Fri 24/2/06 Scotland v England Falkirk RFC 22-49
Sat 11/3/06 France v England Peringneux RFC 1700 GMT tbc 17-30
Fri 17/3/06 England v Ireland Worcester PRFC 1800 GMT 40-5

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