- Ireland - Try: Coombes. Pen: Johnston
- England - Tries: Nay, Walker. Cons: Malins 2
England U20s sealed their first Grand Slam since 2011 after a hard-fought victory over Ireland in Dublin.
England led 14-3 at the break with tries from Jack Nay and Henry Walker, while Max Malins sent over two conversions.
Bill Johnston kicked a penalty for Ireland in between those scores who went into half-time trailing by 11 points.
Gavin Coombes crossed just after the hour mark with Johnston’s conversion reducing the deficit to 14-10 however, England held on for victory.
England, who sealed the Six Nations against Scotland last weekend, started confidently in Dublin and they had their first try inside 16 minutes. Successive penalties were kicked to the corner and after a line-out had been driven to the line, Nay bundled over.
Ireland then had 20 minutes of dominance but a combination of brave defence and superb breakdown work from England kept them out. Tom Curry was penalised for a deliberate trip inside his own 5m, but Ireland still could not find a way through.
A penalty late in the half was kicked by Johnston as they finally got some points on the board but in added time England hit back with a second try.
Superb offloading in contact and quick ball from a ruck saw hooker Walker scythe through Ireland’s defence to dot down under the posts on his first start for England U20.
Ireland fight back
After the break relentless pressure eventually saw Ireland cross for their first try of the game with lock Coombes bundling over under the posts from close range which Johnston converted for 14-10.
Errors slowly crept into England’s game and they invited further pressure, but despite Ireland being camped on their try line in an intense final five minutes they managed to deny the hosts from crossing and sealed victory.
Over the moon
Captain Zach Mercer paid tribute to his team mates, especially for their resilience late on.
"It was awesome, fair play to Ireland, we were probably too complacent in that second half, I can't say how proud I am of the boys," he said.
"To get that turnover at the end shows the character of the boys. We wanted to make new history and win the Grand Slam and we've done it. To go back on the plane with the boys knowing we've won it is amazing. I'm over the moon."
England U20 coach Tom Williams added: “We made it hard for ourselves, however the team have shown a lot of backbone and character today and that is what is so promising about this group of players.
“We know we can’t rest on our laurels and there is a lot to work on ahead of the U20 World Championship but we have a good platform to build from.”
England U20 team to face Ireland U20:
15. Tom Parton (London Irish), 14. Joe Cokanasiga (London Irish), 13. Dominic Morris (Saracens), 12. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors), 11. Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins), 10. Max Malins (Saracens), 9. Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby), 1. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby), 2. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby), 3. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby), 4. Jack Nay (Saracens), 5. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), 6. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), 7. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks), 8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) captain.
16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), 17. Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens), 18. Joseph Morris (Worcester Warriors), 19. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors), 20. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby), 21. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), 22. Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish), 23. Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie).