England to play South Africa in World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final

Friday 08 June 2018

England to play South Africa in World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final

England will play South Africa in the semi-finals of the World Rugby U20 Championship on Tuesday after a 35-10 bonus point victory over Scotland.

England led 17-10 at the break through tries from Gabriel Ibitoye, Beck Cutting and James Scott while Tom Hardwick kicked the one conversion.

Scotland responded with a penalty from Ross Thompson, as well as a converted try via Kyle Rowe just before the break.

Second-half scores for Ibitoye, Joel Kpoku, Matt Williams as well as a penalty secured the win over Scotland.

Steve Bates' side had already been confirmed as winners of Pool B following two bonus-point victories over Argentina and Italy, sealing their place in the last four of the tournament with a game to spare.

And they maintained their perfect run in the tournament with victory over Scotland in Beziers to go into the knockout stages as the tournament's top seed.

They will take on South Africa in Narbonne at 6pm BST, live on ITV 4, while New Zealand face France in Perpignan.

Ibitoye flew over in the corner after showing great power and pace to dot down for his second tournament try which Hardwick converted inside five minutes.

Thompson missed a penalty soon after but reduced the deficit to 7-3 for a later infringement.

England had a second try, hooker Cutting barging over off the back of a driving maul, following a penalty kicked to the corner.

Scott rolled over in the corner after England went through multiple phases, showing patience before their lock forward went over for a third try.

James Grayson was yellow carded for a high tackle as England were reduced to 14 men with 15 minutes of the half remaining.

Scotland had their first try of the game Rowe getting to Thompson’s kick behind the England defence which was also converted for 17-10 at the break.

Ibitoye scored a superb second-half individual score in the corner, powering through three tackles before showing fine agility to touch down by the corner flag.

Hardwick landed a penalty just before the hour mark and with 10 minutes remaining Scotland were reduced to 14 men with Devante Onojaife sin binned for a high tackle.

And England capitalised on it, as Kpoku crashed over from close range before replacement Williams scored England's sixth, sealing the win.

Head coach Steve Bates said: "We've steadily improved over the course of the three games and today's match was a further indicator of that.

"Credit to the players for putting together another good performance and for achieving a third bonus-point victory as well as sealing top spot.

"I'm not sure we're at our full potential so we've got to raise it again for the semi-final.

"We played South Africa a few weeks ago in Worcester, but I don't think that result will have any bearing on Tuesday's fixture. We know they will be physical, but we are a different side to the one we put out. It will heighten our focus but I don't think it will affect us.

"This competition is really intense, you have four days inbetween matches, so we have to recover, analyse and prepare correctly so we are at our best for Tuesday's game. We have to raise our performance to another level as we're now in the knockout phase of the tournament."

England U20s

15. James Grayson (Northampton Saints), 14. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 13. Jordan Olowofela (Leicester Tigers), 12. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors), 11. Ben Loader (London Irish), 10. Tom Hardwick (Leicester Tigers), 9. Ben White – captain (Leicester Tigers), 1. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby), 2. Beck Cutting (Worcester Warriors), 3. Ehren Painter (Northampton Saints), 4. Joel Kpoku (Saracens), 5. James Scott (Worcester Warriors), 6. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), 7. Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby), 8. Tom Willis (Wasps).

Replacements:

16. Gabriel Oghre (Wasps), 17. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby), 18. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), 19. Josh Basham (London Irish), 20. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks), 21. Rory Brand (London Irish), 22. Matt Williams (London Irish), 23. Tom Parton (London Irish).

England U20 fixtures:
England 39-18 Argentina

England 43-5 Italy

England 35-10 Scotland
England: Tries – Ibitoye 2, Cutting, Scott, Kpoku, Williams  Cons – Hardwick Pens - Hardwick
Scotland: Tries - Rowe Cons – Thompson Pens – Thompson

Semi-finals 
England v South Africa, 6pm BST, Narbonne, live on ITV 4

Finals day - Beziers, 17 June


 

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