There were wins for Ireland, England and France to round off the Six Nations Under-18s Festival on Easter Sunday in Marcoussis, France.
Both England and France ended their festivals with unbeaten records after winning their third straight games over Scotland and Wales respectively.
France scored ten tries against Wales to ensure they ended their second successive Six Nations Under-18s Festival without tasting defeat after also winning all of their games last time out in 2019.
Ireland recovered from defeat to France first time out, with two wins after capping their campaign with a convincing triumph over Italy.
Easter FUNday 😍
— Six Nations Under-20s (@SixNationsU20) April 17, 2022
Italy 14-40 Ireland
Fresh from victory over Wales, Ireland got off to a good start against Italy when full-back Ben O’Connor’s footballing skills allowed him to grubber and dot the ball down in the 12th minute.
O’Connor turned provider five minutes later when his basketball-style offload over the top allowed winger Hugo McLaughlin to dive in at the corner.
Jack Murphy was unable to add a second successive touchline conversion, to leave the score at 12-0.
Ireland’s third try came when captain and outside centre Sam Berman crashed over from close range in the 26th minute and they added a fourth right on the cusp of half-time when McLaughlin got his second after finishing an unbelievable length-of-the-field move to make it 26-0 at the break.
Italy bounced back in the second half and there was nothing to split the two sides after the break as the second stanza finished 14-14.
Centre Nicola Bozzo danced in to get his side up and running before Cesare Zucconi rode the tackles to crash over, Giovanni Cinquegrani’s conversion reducing the deficit to 12 in the 54th minute.
But Italy were unable to add any further points to the scoreline and Ireland added two more scores with substitute Harry Long racing over before fellow replacement and hooker Danny Sheahan darted over with the clock in the red.
Sean Naughton kicked a straightforward conversion to make it 40-14 and leave Ireland with two wins from their three games while Italy lost a third consecutive competitive contest having gone down to Scotland and England in previous fixtures.
England 18-15 Scotland
England edged a tight tussle against Scotland 18-15 after coming from behind having trailed 12-10 at half-time.
Jonathan Pendlebury’s men struck first through Morgan Meredith’s seventh-minute penalty after Scotland were penalised at scrum time.
However, Tom Currie’s try helped Scotland hit back after hooker Elliot Young had been held up trying to bundle his way over.
Scotland were reduced to 14 men when skipper Liam McConnell picked up a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on but immediately after his return, England regained the lead through wing Toby Cousins as he benefitted from an overlap brought about after players were sucked in by a strong rolling maul.
Then it was Scotland’s turn to show off their driving power in the forwards, with England unable to stop their maul legally, a penalty try was awarded after half an hour.
It could have got even better for Scotland, but second row Euan McVie’s knock-on with the try line begging ensured the gap remained at two points at the interval.
England regained the lead in the second half after Callum Smyth became the second Scotland player to be shown a yellow card and Meredith capitalised with a penalty five minutes after the restart.
Murdoch Lock’s long-range three-pointer pulled Scotland back in front but England scrum-half Ben Douglas proved to be the match-winner after darting over following a quick-tap penalty to secure an 18-15 win for his side.
England finished the festival having won all three of their games while despite overcoming Italy first up, Scotland finished with back-to-back defeats after losing to France last time out.
France 66-21 Wales
France and Wales delivered a try-fest in the final fixture of the day and festival, racking up 13 between them in an 87-point thriller.
Wales got off to a flyer when scrum-half Orson James raced over the line for a converted score inside a minute.
However, France hit back two minutes later when Hoani Bosmorin scored in the corner and Hugo Reus’s conversion made it a level game.
Gabin Rocher was next to score for France on home soil, the game’s third try in six minutes, after winning the foot race to scrum-half Lucas Zamora’s box kick.
France’s third score came from flanker Andy Timo after a quick tap and a fourth came when outside centre Maxence Biasotto sauntered in after 15 minutes.
Wales retaliated through captain Harri Ackerman to reduce the gap to 12 but a fortuitous bounce of the ball allowed prop Lino Julien to score his side’s fifth.
Full-back Maxime Tetlow set up Bosmorin for the second time in the match as France notched a sixth score before Rocher secured his second following some neat footballing skills to end a pulsating first half at 45-14.
The eighth try of the game came when Emilien Trezieres sold a dummy and crashed over to take France past the 50-point mark before Wales scored another when James’ support play earned him a second 12 minutes into the second period.
France finished with a flourish as Rocher and Bosmorin completed their hat-tricks to provide a fitting end to a convincing display.