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England qualify for World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final

11 June 2015

Bath Rugby Academy's quartet England U20 quartet have helped set-up a World Rugby U20s Championship semi-final with South Africa, despite losing to France 30-18 yesterday.

Charlie Ewels, Rory Jennings, Max Clark and Will Homer will all be in contention to face the Baby Boks on Monday, kick-off 19.30, in a repeat of last year's final.

Following a frustrating and physical contest against the French, England had an agonising wait as their fate rested on the results of later games in opposing pools but, as the highest performing team in runner-up position, England join the three pool leaders France, New Zealand and South Africa in the next round.

Earlier, a try by James Chisholm just before the break and a penalty try mid-way through the second half kept England in the game against Les Bleus, but the 17-3 deficit conceded in the opening twenty five minutes proved costly.

Head Coach Jon Callard said: "Credit to France, they fronted up and made inroads into our set piece which caused us some frustration and we then compounded errors with errors.

"I was proud of how the lads stuck at it in a very physical and dogmatic game but unfortunately we made mistakes in a way that we haven't so far this tournament.

"The players were disappointed with their performance, and not to top the pool, but they will learn from this experience and will be stronger for it both in terms of this competition and their international careers going forward."

France were the first to put points on the board when full back Thomas Ramos converted a penalty from the first scrum of the game.
Although England rallied and formed better attacking shape, a disjointed period followed with neither team threatening the try line until Ramos swooped on a stray pass and sprinted down field.

A try saving tackle from George Perkins spared England and further fine defence was required from Aaron Morris and Jack Walker to keep France at bay.

It was however another loose ball that gifted France with their second score, centre Damian Penaud going under the posts.

A fine strike from the tee by Rory Jennings kept England in touch but Penaud was soon in for a second, picking off an interception and tearing home from 70 metres.
Chisholm, who was relentless in taking the ball into contact and gaining the hard yards, ignited hopes on the stroke of half time, tapping a penalty and charging over the line to make it 17-8 at the break.

Momentum was short lived however as France touched down from a line out drive to extend their lead to 24-8.

Strong work in the scrum earned England a penalty try which was converted by replacement Lloyd Evans. England finally seemed to have some ascendency and closed the gap to within six points when Evans added a further three with fifteen minutes left to play.

Will Homer, on at scrum-half, added energy to England's attack, but France closed out the game very well – a second Ramos' penalty and a neat drop goal from Lucas Meret put England's hopes of topping the group out of sight.

Points: 1P Jennings, 1T Chisholm, 1C & 1P Evans, Pen Try

England U20 squad v France:

15. Aaron Morris (Saracens)
14. George Perkins (Saracens)
13. Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
12. Max Clark (Bath Rugby)
11. Howard Packman (Northampton Saints)
10. Rory Jennings (Bath Rugby)
9. James Mitchell (Sale Sharks)
1. Ellis Genge (Bristol Rugby)
2. Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie)
3. Paul Hill (Yorkshire Carnegie)
4. Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, Captain)
6. Charlie Beckett (Leicester Tigers)
7. Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)
8. James Chisholm (Harlequins)

Replacements:

16. Jack Innard (Exeter Chiefs) on for Jack Walker (70 mins)
17. Owen Hills (Leicester Tigers) on for Ellis Genge (70 mins)
18 Ciaran Parker (Sale Sharks) on for Paul Hill (70 mins)
19. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) on for Kieran Treadwell (50 mins)
20. Josh Bainbridge (Yorkshire Carnegie) for Charlie Beckett (57 mins)
21. Will Homer (Bath Rugby) on for James Mitchell (60 mins)
22. Lloyd Evans (Gloucester) on for Rory Jennings (57 mins)
23. Piers O'Conor (Wasps) on for Aaron Morris (75 mins)

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