Merigan at the double as England U20 move a step closer to Six Nations success

8 July 2021

Nahum Merigan scored twice as England Under-20s moved one step closer to being crowned the 2021 U20 Six Nations champions with victory over Wales.

The Number 8 went over twice in the closing stages with powerful finishes to seal a fine 45-3 win at Cardiff Arms Park and the Triple Crown.

It was Bath Rugby Senior Academy man Merigan’s third try in two starts for England with Orlando Bailey, Ewan Richards and Tom Carr-Smith also contributing to Alan Dickens’ side’s fourth consecutive success in the tournament. 

It was Wales who got the first points of the match after just two minutes when Sam Costelow knocked over a penalty to give the hosts the lead. 

England responded just two minutes later though when number 8 Jack Clement went over from a powerful short range drive, with fly half Fin Smith adding the conversion.

A driving maul resulted in England’s second try and it was hooker Sam Riley who crossed off the back of his lineout throw. 

England’s third came from a superb break and finish from captain Jack van Poortvliet when he took a quick tap penalty just outside the 22 and he beat three defenders to cross – Smith added the extras for a 19-3 lead at the break, which saw England’s Harvey Kindell-Beaton sent to the sin bin just before half-time.

The bonus-point score came on the 50th minute mark when a slick handling move was worked out to the left win and Arthur Relton finished easily, with replacement Tommy Mathews adding the conversion.

Relton’s second came down a blindside break just a few minutes later and England finished their scoringthrough Merigan’s double.

Carr-Smith controlled possession at the base of a ruck close to the Wales line and fed Merigan on a short charge to the whitewash. Moments later, he was on a similar rush to dot down, this time helped by a fast-moving maul. 

Bailey was on hand to kick a superb touchline conversion to round off a fantastic performance.


Head coach Dickens: "I thought it was always going to be tough and the Welsh came out fast and were buoyed by an early penalty, but I think in the first half we played and worked the territory.

"We didn't move the ball as well as we can but we got the rewards by playing territory and the forwards dominated.

"One of the aspects that was really pleasing was the impact that the replacements bought in the second half, as a game's never won in the first half.

"I think Italy have been excellent in the games that they've played. In the game against Ireland they were a bit unlucky not to get a bit more from the game - they're a tough outfit."


 

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