Scotland suffered their fourth successive defeat in the under-20 Six Nations Championship after losing to world champions England at Franklin’s Gardens in a match that confirmed the men in white as this season’s title winners.
The Scots deserved credit for sorting out the defence problems that beset them against Wales, with their committed tackling containing an unbeaten England team for much of the match. With ten minutes of the game remaining England led by only 19-5 before adding two late converted tries.
Scotland’s forwards, strengthened by the return of Matt Fagerson, earned plaudits for challenging a Premiership-sourced England pack. Among the backs, scrum-half Andrew Simmers impressed both in defence and with his swift service. But the star of Scotland’s backline was the Hawick wing Darcy Graham, whose sheer pace and determination lit up the game.
“What we did today was restore pride after the Wales game. Now we have to roll up our sleeves and prepare well for the Italy game next Friday,” said Scots coach Sean Lineen.
Scotland trailed 14-0 at the break after a first 40 in which Lineen’s young charges had, for much of the half, checked a confident English side.
But inevitably England’s pressure told and when Saracens stand-off Max Malins opened the Scotland defence defence the finish by flanker Jack Nay was unstoppable. Malins converted and added the extras to a try on the stroke of half-time by scrum-half Harry Randall.
England increased their lead with a second-half try by wing Dominic Morris but Scotland responded with a touchdown by Graham from a move started by the Hawick wing. Converted tries by Zach Mercher and Theo Clews, however, put England clear.