Second Half Performance Too Late For Scotland

An equal pegging performance against England in the second half came too late for Scotland U20
as they were defeated by three tries to nil at Firhill in Glasgow tonight.

After the game, head coach Eamon John said: “We’re bitterly disappointed. In the first half, we tried to open them up but we couldn’t keep hold of the ball."

SCOTLAND U20 6 – 27 ENGLAND U20

 

An equal pegging performance against England in the second half came too late for Scotland U20
as they were defeated by three tries to nil at Firhill in Glasgow tonight.

After the game, head coach Eamon John said: “We’re bitterly disappointed. In the first half, we tried to open them up but we couldn’t keep hold of the ball.

“Every point they had we gave to them.

“We know we can play and have plenty positives from the second half performance to take ahead into the Ireland game next week.”

Captain Stuart McInally agreed with his coach’s comments: “We’re very disappointed. We let ourselves down in the first half.

“We were so close to getting over the line a few times but we could’ve fronted up more in the first half.”

England’s first try was ignited inside the first five minutes by a great midfield break from pacey prop Joe Marler. Marler’s offload found centre Andy Forsyth who chipped ahead and collected on the bounce before touching down between the posts. Stand-off Rory Clegg converted. 0-7.

Scotland kept their heads up and defended well under the high ball. But despite working their way back into England’s half, Alex Blair couldn’t retreat with points in the bag as he hit the left post with a medium-range penalty attempt.

His opposite number, Clegg, was to make no mistake with his. 0-10.

Six minutes later, Blair had the ball back on the tee in the same spot from where he took his last penalty. This time he was on target. 3-10.

Looking at the final score, it’s hard to imagine that England played a third of the match with 14 men as they had three players sent to the sin bin.

Scotland first found themselves a man up as England lock Calum Green was carded for pinning a player to the ground and not adhering to referee’s instructions to release him.

Despite the extra man though, Scotland failed to defend a simple passage from an English line-out. The ball went through the hands of the backline to reach winger Marcus Watson who dotted down in the corner. Clegg converted. 3-17.

Scotland chipped away with another Blair penalty as the game approached 25 minutes. 6-17.

Blair’s attempt was soon cancelled our as England continued to dominate the scoreboard with another Clegg penalty, this one right in front of the posts.

Their superiority in strong attacking running saw England touch down for their third try of the first half. Winger Sam Smith burst free, but was hauled down short of the line.

Lock Charlie Matthews eventually picked up and stretched over the line. Clegg converted. 6-27.

Half-time score: Scotland 6 – 27 England

Scotland came out of the blocks with all the determination and desire to make the second 40 minutes no easy walk for England.

Some fantastic phases of play drove the Scots inside the visiting 22. But Blair’s decision to grubber the ball into touch reversed possession.

The resulting clearance kick was collected by fullback Tom Brown who was taken out in the air by England’s try-scoring winger Sam Smith. Smith was England’s second player to be sent to the bin.

Scotland continued to demonstrate a never-say-die attitude, and they looked to have reaped the rewards of consistent pressure as England battered their defence once more.

A wild pass out wide was intercepted by Blair, who ran the length of the field. But a “schoolboy error” knock-on, just yards from the line, denied the Scots their first try.

England then achieved a hat-trick though not of the scoring kind. Their continuous indiscipline saw their third player send to the sin bin as replacement Will Welch was penalised for interfering in the ruck whilst off his feet.

The two sides continued to batter into each other for the remainder of the match but neither could breach opposition defences and the second half ended scoreless.

Scotland U20: Tom Brown (Edinburgh Accies)*; Oliver Grove (Worcester Warriors), James Johnstone (Currie)*, Alex Dunbar (Selkirk)*, Dougie Fife (Currie)**; Alex Blair (Edinburgh Accies)*, Alex Black (Leeds Carnegie);  Nicky Little (Hawick)*, Alun Walker (Currie), Colin Phillips (Stewart's-Melville)**, Matthew Reid (Heriot's), Robert Harley (West of Scotland)*, Michael Maltman (Heriot's)**, 7 David Denton (Edinburgh Accies)*, Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Watsonians)*
Substitutes: Aaron Hall (Newcastle Falcons) for Reid (48 mins), Matthew Scott (Currie)** for Johnstone (54 mins), George Hunter (Glasgow Hawks) for Phillips (60 mins), Kris Hamilton (Caithness)** for Black (67 mins), Lindsey Gibson (Melrose) for Walker, Callum Stidston-Nott (London Scottish) for Maltman and Duncan Weir (Glasgow Hawks)** for Grove (all 75 mins)

* = Member of Scottish Rugby’s Contracted National Academy
** = Member of Scottish Rugby’s Area Institute Supported National Academy

England U20: Tom Catterick (London Wasps); Marcus Watson (London Irish), Andrew Forsyth (Leicester Tigers), Tom Casson (Harlequins), Sam Smith (Harlequins); Rory Clegg (Harlequins), Sam Harrison (Leicester Tigers); Lee Imiolek (Sale Sharks), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Calum Green (Leicester Tigers), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins), Jamie Gibson (London Irish), Jacob Rowan (Leeds Carnegie), Jackson Wray (Saracens)
Replacements: Arthur Ellis (London Wasps), Mako Vunipola (Bristol Rugby), Danny Wright (Gloucester Rugby), Will Welch (Newcastle Falcons), Jordi Pasqualin (Gloucester Rugby), Mark Atkinson (Sale Sharks), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)