Wales U20 3-45 England U20

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Wales U20 fell to a third heavy defeat in a row as England U20 continued their march to a Grand Slam with a dominant performance at the Arms Park on Wednesday night.

Head coach Ioan Cunningham had suffered some injury setbacks ahead of the game as Garyn Phillips and Dafydd Jenkins were ruled out from the pack, while Sam Costelow and Ioan Evans were tactical changes in the back line.

It was a remaining member of the starting XV who made the first big play of the game though as hooker Oli Burrows won a turnover penalty at the breakdown straight from kick-off with Costelow giving Wales an early 3-0 lead.

Unfortunately that would be where the scoring started and finished for the home side as England hit straight back after a penalty allowed them to kick to the corner and Jack Clement powered over from close range after the initial driving maul had been stopped just short, with Fin Smith adding the extras.

The next 20 minutes saw the game swing back-and-forth somewhat as neither side was able to hold on to the ball for any considerable period of time, but eventually England’s set piece power showed as a scrum penalty allowed them to kick to the corner again and this time the maul was successful with Sam Riley in possession as they crashed over.

Wales’ problems at the set piece continued as the lineout malfunctioned on back-to-back occasions, and when the second led to a penalty the away scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet was live to take a quick tap and set the last defender to go under the posts, Smith making it 3-19.

England had an opportunity to score again before the break as they went back to the corner but a last-ditch tackle from Rhys Thomas caused the away side to knock on over the line, before a Christ Tshiunza lineout steal took possession away, although in the aftermath there was a yellow card shown to each team as Efan Daniel and Harvey Kindell-Beaton tussled.

In the end the visitors had to wait until 10 minutes into the second half to secure a bonus point when more set piece problems for Wales saw the English return to the corner, and the backs got in on the scoring fun with some sharp handling giving Arthur Relton the space to dot down out wide.

Relton doubled up the try scoring just a few minutes later when he reached over after another penalty had given England field position, and things went from bad to worse for the home side as Christ Tshiunza was very harshly shown a yellow card for an apparent high shot on Tommy Mathews.

Wales managed to see the spell of being a man down out fairly comfortably and even threatened the opposition try line twice as a Harri Williams break put Sam Costelow away, and an interception sent Cameron Jones barrelling down the field with Ioan Evans in support, but both players were dragged down just short and possession turned over.

In the end it was a touch of luck that gave England their next score when a kick through flicked off a Welsh finger and went dead giving the away side an attacking five-metre scrum, allowing Nahum Merrigan to crash over from close range after two phases of go-forward.

There was just time left for Merrigan to grab a second on the final whistle and he was in possession when another driving maul went over, giving the visitors the 3-45 victory

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