Fletcher Q&A after England U18 victory over France

England U18s got their summer development tour off to a winning start with a 24-8 victory over France in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Head coach John Fletcher gave his thoughts on the team's performance and looks ahead to their next game, against Wales, on Tuesday 15 August.  

Did you see what you wanted to see from a first game on tour?

"It was a good first half, I thought early in the first half we played with a really good tempo, moved the ball well and created some opportunities - and then took a couple.

"To score three tries in the first half was pleasing. Clearly the plan was to kick on in the second half, continue where we left off but we didn’t start well. We got a few things wrong, the French built momentum and scored a try from our mistake. Subsequently, we spend the most of the remainder of the game defending.

"But I’m pleased, for most of these guys it was a first hit out for a number of months; we will be better in our next game.

Will you do anything different in preparation for Wales?

"Wales are slightly different so will give us different problems in the game, and we will talk about to the boys.

"The way they defend is unique, so there’s some attacking things we will look at there. But you always look forward to an England-Wales match, we might be far away from the northern hemisphere but the boys wont need any motivating."

Did CARDS work?

"Yes. It was on show in abundance."

What will the players do now in order to unwind ahead of the Wales game?

"It’s a short turnaround, we play again on Tuesday. We will prepare for the game, but it’s important that when you come to somewhere like South Africa you meet the people and see the culture, so we will switch off for the next 24 hours.

"Then, tomorrow we will have a look at the game, the boys will watch it in groups and we won't talk to them until then."

How special was it for the U18s to play a match in South Africa?

"It’s pretty cool to come to South Africa and play any side. France are tough, tough opposition so it was a good experience, that is what the pathway is all about."

Results & fixtures

Friday 11 August: England U18 24-8 France  - Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch

Tuesday 15 August: England U18 v Wales - Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl (1.15pm BST)

Saturday 19 August: England U18 v SA Schools - City Park, Athlone (1pm BST)