England under-18 (22) 39 v 27 (17) Scotland under-18

Scotland under-18 put in a spirited and impressive attacking performance, yet fell short of their English opposition at Kingston Park, the game finishing at 39-27 in favour of the home side.

Blair Kinghorn on the attack

The boys in blue scored first through an inspiring individual effort from full-back Saul Melvin-Farr, which put them in front, deservedly, after the opening exchanges.

The lead was short lived however, as the visitors leaked three tries in quick succession to leave them 22-5 down after 20 minutes and a tough task in fighting back into the game.

Yet, showing great confidence in their own ability and pride in the jersey, Scotland crossed the line twice before the break to pull themselves back to within touching distance of their opposition.

Darcy Graham was first to score through a well executed interception, soon followed by Hawick club-mate, Fraser Renwick, who crashed over following a string of cleverly put together phases from the Scots.

Half time: England under-18 22 v 17 Scotland under-18

The second period, much like the first, was an open and fluid affair, with both sides looking to attack from all areas of the park.

England were first on the score-sheet in the second half, as they eventually broke down a resilient Scottish defence to cross through stand-off Theo Brophy-Clews. The conversion from full-back Johnny McPhillips gave the men in white a 29-17 lead.

His opposite number, Blair Kinghorn, retaliated on behalf of his team, firstly through a penalty goal and then through a score which was undoubtedly the highlight of the match.

The Edinburgh Academy fly-half exhibited superb vision to delicately chip the ball over the frontline of English defence and scoop it up on halfway, before backing himself to outpace the covering defenders and score in the corner. He followed up his efforts by slotting the touchline conversion, with ease, to take Scotland to within two points of England. (29-27)

Darcy Graham gallops in for a try

A lapse in Scottish concentration following the try saw them immediately on the back-foot, as England pressed for towards their line and their efforts eventuallyproved fruitful as replacement Charlie Capps crossed the line. The successful conversion from McPhillips widened the gap, with his penalty, shortly after, closing the game at 39-27 in favour of England.

Scotland under-18 Head Coach, Eddie Pollock, said:

“We’re pleased with the way the boys played tonight, and there are a lot of positives we can take from this performance.

“A couple of errors in defence early on meant we leaked a couple of tries yet we showed real character and pride to bring ourselves back into the game.

“We took them on up front and had the confidence to have a go out wide, which is fantastic to see.

“It really shows how tight an affair it was when they had to continually kick goals in the last part of the game to claim the win.”

Full-time: England under-18 (22) 39 v 27 (17) Scotland under-18

England under-18: Jonny McPhillips; Darren Atkins, Max Wright, Max Malins, Sam Aspland-Robinson; Theo Brophy-Clews, Jack Maunder; Jake Pope, Dan Frost, Jack Stanley, Josh Caulfied, Tim Cardall, Joe Craggs, Will Allman and Zach Mercer.

Replacements: Joe Mullis, Ollie Dawe, Charlie Capps, Archie White, William Evans, Alexander Mitchell, Mark Dixon and Sam Yawayawa.

Scotland under-18: Saul Melvin-Farr (Edinburgh Academy/Edinburgh Academicals); Darcy Graham (Hawick High School/Hawick Wanderers), Alastair Greig (Stewart’s Melville College/Stewart’s Meville), Connor Eastgate (Henley College/Wasps), Robbie Nairn (George Watson’s College/Currie); Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Academy/Edinburgh Academicals), Jamie Troup (Strathallan School); Adam Nicol (Dunfermline), Fraser Renwick (Hawick High School/Hawick Wanderers), Fergus Bradbury (Merchiston Castle School), Hamish Bain (George Watson’s College/Currie), Callum Hunter-Hill (Stewart’s Melville College), Alexander Craig (Hartpury College/Gloucester), Michael Dewar (Abingdon School/Wasps) and Bruce Flockhart (Strathallan School/Highland).

Replacements: Jack Solman (Sedbergh School), George Thornton (Moulton College/Market Harborough), Blair Robertson (Kelso Harlequins), Andrew Grant-Suttie (Loretto School/North Berwick), Matthew Fagerson (Strathallan School), Charlie Shiel (Royal High School/RHC Cougars), Grant Huggan (Hawick Wanderers) and Craig Pringle (Loretto School/Melrose). 

Photos: Mark Fletcher | Shutter Press