France, Ireland and England emerged victorious on the second day of action at the men’s Six Nations Under-18s Festival played at Marcoussis in France.
After producing a stunning comeback to beat Ireland in their opening encounter, France were more convincing winners over Scotland, recording a 32-10 triumph in the day’s opening game.
Ireland got the better of Wales, who also lost out to England in their first match, winning 46-26 thanks to a pulsating second-half display.
Meanwhile Italy, who lost 31-17 to Scotland on Saturday, put up a spirited fight in the final clash against England but could not prevent their opponents from making it two wins on the spin with a 28-21 triumph.
France 32-10 Scotland
France and Scotland kicked off the day’s triple header of international action but both teams initially struggled to get to grips with slippery conditions.
But France settled first and took the lead through a Tom Raffy penalty ten minutes in, following good work at the breakdown by tighthead prop Zaccharie Affane.
Two minutes later, Raffy’s beautifully weighted cross-field kick sat up for winger Hoani Bosmorin who grubbered past the Scotland defence and dotted down for a score which Raffy converted to stretch the lead to 10-0.
Putting boot to ball was clearly working for France as inside centre Emilien Trezières’ delicate chip helped his side regain possession inside the Scotland 22 before Affane powered over from close range for their second try.
France’s physical supremacy was clear to see when Scotland failed to stop a rampaging rolling maul with hooker Léo Chauvin applying the finishing touch.
Raffy took his personal tally to 12 points after kicking his second penalty to make it 27-0 having successfully converted all three tries.
Shortly before the break, France flanker Andy Timo was sent to the sin-bin for seven minutes but his teammates held on to keep Scotland scoreless at the interval.
Replacement France prop Adam Bouare got the first try of the second half before fellow substitute Elliot Young got Scotland on the board with a try from a rolling maul.
Barnabé Massa received a yellow card for France after a late tackle and Scotland made the most of their numerical advantage when Hector Patterson darted over with the score finishing 32-10.
Ireland 46-26 Wales
Ireland made a fast start against Wales as flanker Stephen Smyth burrowed over from close range barely two minutes in.
Fly-half Sean Naughton kicked the extras before slotting a penalty to take Ireland into double figures.
However, Wales hit back in the 13th minute when the ball went nicely through the hands on the right, allowing full-back Huw Anderson to dive over.
Undeterred, Ireland responded shortly after when hooker Danny Sheahan found himself at the back of an unstoppable rolling maul.
The topsy-turvy first half continued with Wales scoring an exact replica of Ireland’s try, No.2 Isaac Young benefitting from his side’s drive over the line.
Wales were reduced to 14 when No.8 Morgan Morse was sin-binned for a late tackle on Naughton before the stand-off nudged the resulting penalty through the uprights.
With the clock in the red, Wales hit back despite being down a man as second row Jonny Green’s powerful leg drive saw him go over.
Fly-half Sam Berry’s conversion moved the gap to just one point as Wales went in 20-19 down at half-time.
But Ireland were soon up and running in the second half as replacement Jack Murphy raced under the sticks for an interception score.
Further tries followed as outside centre Sam Berman crashed over from a metre out before winger Hugo McLaughlin became the second man to benefit from an intercept as he sprinted home from well inside his own half.
Wales retaliated with a lovely try for Ioan Duggan as they kept the ball alive before sending it through the hands to reduce the gap to 41-26.
Ireland had the last say, however, after a lovely cut-out ball from Murphy put centre Luke Kritzinger in at the corner to make the final score 46-26.
Italy 21-28 England
England started strongly against Italy with an early try for fly-half Morgan Meredith before two penalties from his opposite number Giovanni Cinquegrani closed the gap to 7-6.
Jonathan Pendlebury’s side worked hard to find a second try, and it eventually came from Meredith’s left-footed dink which sat up perfectly for full-back Ioan Jones to collect and score in the 23rd minute.
Another three points from Cinquegrani left things nicely poised at 14-9 to England at half-time.
England earned a 12-point cushion five minutes into the second half when second row Harvey Cuckson cleverly spun out of a tackle to touch down.
But Italy were far from dispirited and were next to score after taking advantage of an overlap on the left wing which allowed Lorenzo Elettri to dive in at the corner and make the contest a one-try game.
A stunning first-phase strike move from England set centre George Loose away and like any good back row forward Tristan Woodman was in support to collect the offload and flop over the line.
Meredith’s conversion gave England breathing space at 28-14 with 13 minutes to go but Zach Carr’s dangerous tackle earned him a yellow card and gave Italy a man advantage.
And the Azzurrini were quick to capitalise with Nicholas Gasperini scoring off the back of a marauding maul.
But Italy also lost a man when replacement prop Davide Ascari was sent off and despite threatening in and around the opposition 22 with time up, England held on for a 28-21 victory.