England held out for a 30-16 win over Wales at the Stadio San Michele, Calvisano this evening to make it two from two in their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign.
Tries from Bath Rugby's Max Clark, Northampton Saint Howard Packman and Exeter Chief Stuart Townsend allowed England to build a 22-0 lead within half an hour but Wales reduced the deficit, scoring ten points just before the break.
Their offensive continued until a driving maul and the resulting try from Exeter Chief Sam Skinner midway through the second half eventually put the game beyond Wales and secured the all-important four try bonus point.
Head Coach Jon Callard said: “I thought we played very well in the first half, our game management was good, we played in the right areas and were clinical. In the second half, Wales came out strongly and caused us problems.
“We’ve achieved what we needed to and that was to win with a bonus point so credit to the lads and all the management staff who have put in a great stint this week to ensure that everyone was fit and ready. We'll work hard in the coming days and by Wednesday we'll be equally prepared to take on France.”
A Rory Jennings penalty put England three points ahead within the first two minutes but some probing Welsh phase play followed and Saracens ace Aaron Morris was shown yellow for a deliberate knock on.
Regaining their composure, England began taking the game to Wales and after Saracen George Perkins had come agonisingly close, Clark twisted out of the tackle to go over. Jennings added the additional two points.
A perfect offload by Nick Tompkins, who made 11 appearances in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season, and quick hands from the returning Morris created the opening for Packman to burst through for England’s second.
Wales made their presence felt with periods of attack but superb placement kicking by England’s half backs, exciting play by those outside them and relentless work at the breakdown suggested it wouldn’t be long before they scored again. The points eventually came through a quickly taken Townsend tap and go.
A penalty exchange followed, Jarrod Evans slotting Wales’ first points of the game before Jennings replied. An opportune steal and score by Owen Watkin, just before the break gave Wales momentum and they added a further three points within minutes of the restart.
England found themselves absorbing waves of Welsh attack but a well drilled defensive effort allowed the reds to only take three points from the offensive.
An unstoppable maul was the turning point of the half with Skinner touching down. England finished the stronger of the two sides and it seemed the No. 8 had gone over for a second minutes later but the pass from Piers O’Conor was considered forward.
Points: Clark 1T, Jennings 2P & 2C, Packman 1T, Townsend 1T, Skinner 1T
England U20 v Wales:
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. Stuart Townsend (Exeter Chiefs)
1. Sebastian Adeniran-Olule (Harlequins)
2. Jack Walker (Yorkshire Carnegie)
3. Paul Hill (Yorkshire Carnegie)
4. Kieran Treadwell (Harlequins)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, Captain)
6. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)
7. Will Owen (Leicester Tigers)
8. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs)
16. Jack Innard (Exeter Chiefs) on for Jack Walker (66 mins)
17. Ellis Genge (Bristol Rugby) on for Seb Adeniran-Olule (57 mins)
18. Ciaran Parker (Sale Sharks) on for Paul Hill (73 mins)
19. Will Witty (Newcastle Falcons) on for Kieran Treadwell (73 mins)
20. Josh Bainbridge (Yorkshire Carnegie) on for Charlie Ewels (70 mins)
21. James Mitchell (Sale Sharks) on for Stuart Townsend (73 mins)
22. Lloyd Evans (Gloucester) on for Rory Jennings (57 mins)
23. Piers O’Conor (Wasps) on for Howard Packman (67 mins)
England's Schedule: (Live on BT Sport)
June 2, England 59 – 7 Japan, KO 5.30pm BST, Stadio San Michele Calvisano
June 6, England 30 – 16 Wales, KO 7.30pm BST, Stadio San Michele Calvisano
June 10, England v France, KO 3.30pm BST, Stadio Luigi Zaffanella Viadana
June 15, Semi-finals and knock-out games. Details TBC
June 20, Final and knock-out games, Details TBC