- England Under 18 run in three tries against France at Castle Park
- Fly half Mathew Protheroe claims 11 points in man-of-the-match display
England Under 18 21 France Under 18 5
England Under 18 got their first win of the new season on Sunday, beating France 21-5 at Castle Park in Doncaster.
In wet conditions, a first half try from wing Sam Aspland-Robinson set England on their way, before second half scores from Max Malins and Mathew Protheroe sealed the win. Protheroe also added six points with the boot.
England looked threatening in the opening exchanges, but had to wait until 25 minutes in before making the breakthrough. The electric Protheroe, who was named BMW man of the match, made some yards and eventually kicked over the French defence for Aspland-Robinson to gather and score.
France did have their chances, and it took a last-ditch tackle from wing Rotimi Segun to stop them scoring in the corner to keep it 7-0 at the break.
But it was the French who got the first score of the second half – scrum half Arthur Retiere made a quick dash, which freed up space for Nathan Decron to dive over to make it 7-5.
England upped the pressure on the French and forced them into mistakes – first Malins jumped on to a loose French pass to run in and score unopposed before Protheroe gathered a sloppy kick and beat the French defence on the outside to touch down.
Head Coach John Fletcher said: “We’re delighted to get the result against a tough French side, particularly in these difficult and wet conditions. It wasn’t a spectacular game of rugby but we did enough to get the win and I’m pleased for the lads. We haven’t had too long training together as a team, and to beat a physical French side will stand them in good stead.”
Captain Callum Chick added: “It was an amazing feeling to lead the lads out and I’m pleased to have got the win. It was a bit scrappy at times but that was probably due to the weather. We’ve got a great team spirit in the camp and we’re looking forward to our next game against Wales in a couple of weeks.”
Points: Aspland-Robinson 1T, Malins 1T, Protheroe 1T; Protheroe 3C
England U18 starting XV against France
15. Owain James (Wasps Rugby, Harrow School) 14. Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins, Wellington College) 13. Conor Dolan (Wasps Rugby, Wellington College) 12. Elliott Creed (Gloucester Rugby, Chosen Hill) 11. Rotimi Segun (Northampton Saints, Stowe School) 10. Mathew Protheroe (Hartpury College) 9. Alexander Mitchell (Sale Sharks, Lymm HS) 1. Mofe Wilkey (Harlequins, Trinity School) 2. Dan Frost (Bath Rugby, Filton College) 3. Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs, Truro College) 4. Matthew Postlethwaite (Sale Sharks, Ilkley Grammar) 5. Alexander Moon (Northampton Saints, Sedbergh School) 6. Archie White (Harlequins, Epsom College) 7. William Allman (Northampton Saints, Trent College) 8. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy, captain)
Replacements: (all played)
16. Curtis Langdon (London Irish, St Paul's Sunbury) 17. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks, Myerscough College) 18. Jack Stanley (Exeter Chiefs, Truro College) 19. John Hawkins (Northampton Saints, Stowe) 20. Joe Craggs (Newcastle Falcons, Gosforth Academy) 21. Rory Brand (Sale Sharks, Wellington College) 22. Max Malins (Saracens, Felsted) 23. Sam Allan (Yorkshire Carnegie, Prince Henry’s Grammar School)