Scotland, England and France were victorious on the opening day of the men’s Six Nations Under-18s Festival played at Marcoussis in France.
Scotland got the ball rolling with a fine win over Italy in a game that was very tight until the final ten minutes where two late tries allowed Scotland to pull away for a 31-17 success.
England then followed that up by beating Wales 33-14, their rolling maul the foundation for three tries.
And in another thriller in the final game, France produced a stirring comeback to see off Ireland 28-23.
Italy 17-31 Scotland
Italy made a strong start with the opening try of the festival after just six minutes from Tommaso Ferrari, but Scotland hit straight back through Murdoch Lock, the scrum-half finishing a move he had started with a quick tap.
Italy took the lead once again thanks to a fine try from outside centre Nicola Bozzo converted by Simone Brisighella.
But Scotland took the lead again as Elliot Young went over from a rolling maul, Luke Townsend converting to make it 14-12.
Logan Jarvie extended that lead with an opportunistic score just before half-time, but Italy then cut the deficit to two when Lorenzo Elettri went over shortly after the break.
That was how it remained until the final ten minutes, but tries from Jarvie after a stunning break by skipper Liam McConnell, and then Amena Caqusau sealed the win.
Wales 14-33 England
England’s rolling maul was the defining feature of their win over Wales, with Craig Wright getting them up and running with the first try from a rolling maul six minutes in, making it 8-0 after an earlier penalty.
Wales hit straight back with a delightful try finished off by Lucas de la Rua after lovely offloads from Rhodri Lewis and Harri Ackerman.
A second maul try from Wright put England back in front at 13-7, but despite a yellow card reducing Wales to 14, they were next to score. Full-back Isaac Morgan ran a great line to burst over, the conversion making it 14-13.
England had the final say in the first half though, Connor Cross finishing off a brilliant team score to make it 18-14 at the break.
After a relatively even first half, it was England who dominated the second, Finn Carnduff extending their lead before another maul try, this time replacement hooker Charlie Smith was the beneficiary. A late penalty from Morgan Meredith wrapped up the points for England.
France 28-23 Ireland
Ireland made a fast start against the hosts, racing into a 13-0 lead. A penalty in the first minute put Ireland in front before No.8 Brian Gleeson went over from close range to make it 10-0.
Another penalty from Jack Murphy extended the lead to 13 points but France got on the board thanks to three points from Hugo Reus. He added another to cut the deficit to seven points at the break.
France drew level shortly after half-time as Gabin Rocher finished in the corner after quick hands had put him into space. Reus converted but Murphy put Ireland back in front with a penalty to make it 16-13.
From there, France seized control, with a brilliant try from Emilien Trézières after Marko Gazzotti had sliced through. They added another which was well finished in the corner by replacement Hoani Bosmorin.
And while Jacob Sheahan had the final say for Ireland, it was France who finished the stronger to see out the win.