Bath Rugby Academy quintet help England U20 to Six Nations Grand Slam

13 July 2021

Five Bath Rugby Senior Academy players helped England Under-20s to the 2021 U20 Six Nations Grand Slam title.

Ewan Richards, Nahum Merigan, Orlando Bailey, Tom Carr-Smith and John Stewart have all played their part in the Under-20s' first success since 2017.

Alan Dickens' side secured their triumph with a fifth bonus-point win of the tournament, seeing off Italy 27-17 at Cardiff Arms Park.

Fly-half-turned-full-back Bailey crossed early on for his second try of the competition. Receiving the ball in the wide channel, he hitch-kicked to create half a yard of space and rode two tackles to power into the corner. 

Tommy Matthews of Hartpury University RFC stretched England’s lead with the conversion and a long-range penalty before more pressure on the Italians resulted in Bailey’s lovely delayed pass sending Jack Bates through a gap to score.

Italy’s well-marshalled defence kept the score to 17-0 at half-time ahead of their first points on the board though Mattia Farrarin’s boot.

England’s response was immediate with wing Arthur Relton speeding into the corner. The Azzurri got their first try just a couple of minutes later in a frantic start to the second half as Ion Neculai powered over from close range, and Farrarin slotted the simple conversion.

Italy’s second came after a penalty was reversed, they kicked to the corner and the driving maul saw replacement Tommaso Di Bartolome dot down and Farrarin’s extras made it 22-17.

On the 65th minute Nicolo Piantella was shown a yellow card after a number of penalties in a row were conceded by Italy, and after Tarek Haffar’s effort was ruled to be held up, from the resultant scrum the ball was worked to the left wing for Relton’s second. 

Flavio Pio Vaccari’s was sin binned for hitting Relton in the air from the restart of his try, but England retained possession in the closing stages for the victory.

The win means it’s England’s seventh title since the inception of the Under 20s Championship in 2008, making them the most successful side in the tournament.

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