U20 | Scotland 10-35 England
Scotland lost their final pool fixture of the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship after conceding three second-half tries against a powerful England outfit.
The game was in the balance at the break following Kyle Rowe’s late score, but the men in white – who held a slender 17-10 lead at half-time - found another gear in the second period and secured a deserved bonus-point win.
Scotland will now face Ireland in the relegation play-offs next Tuesday (12 June, kick-off 3pm BST) at the Stade Aime-Giral in Perpignan.
Scotland captain Robbie Smith – who led by example throughout the contest – was left frustrated by the full-time result, but believes his side will regroup ahead of next week’s pivotal fixture.
“It was disappointing after that first-half performance – we were really in the game and sticking it to them – but we just came out in that second 40 minutes and made too many errors, and a team like England will punish you,” Smith admitted.
“We talked all week about mauling against them. We did that in the 6 Nations and it worked really well for us, but tonight they had obviously done their homework and, to be fair to England, they defended it really well.
We’ll come back fighting. We’ve got another game in five days time to get it right, that’s the beauty of this tournament. We’ll be back to try and get as high a placed finish as possible.
England shot out to an early lead after a slick handling move saw the ball shipped wide to winger Gabriel Itoye.
The Harlequins product, who beat two defenders in the process, showed great strength and agility to finish in the corner.
Bryan Repath’s side reacted instantly, however, and when England were caught handling at the breakdown, stand-off Ross Thompson split the uprights to get his side on the board.
Although Scotland showed heart in defence, England’s power up-front would soon pay dividends.
Hooker Beck Cutting would firstly barrel over the whitewash following a well-executed lineout drive, before second-row James Scott wriggled over the line to cap of a six-minute period of dominance which saw England drive into a 17-3 lead.
Following a high-tackle on Thompson, England’s full-back James Grayson was sent to bin on 26 minutes and Scotland would take advantage of their numerical advantage.
Camped on the English try-line, Thompson thread the needle with a neat grubber kick which saw the ball sit perfectly for Rowe, who finished with aplomb.
Although Scotland trailed just 17-10 at the break, England were soon back on the front foot as Ibitoye finished once again in the corner – his side’s fourth try of the contest.
Scotland peppered England’s whitewash - with number eight James Miller going close – but when replacement Devante Onojaife was shown a yellow card for yet another high tackle, England proved too strong for the 14 men in blue.
Second-row Joel Kpoku and replacement centre Matt Williams both scored in the final ten minutes to add further shine to the scoreline.