Scotland U18s 24 - 45 England U18s: Scots draw festival blank

Scotland finished their three-match Five Nations Under-18 Festival programme with a 45-24 defeat to England yesterday in Caerphilly. This was the second defeat to England this season, the young Scots having lost to the men in white 39-15 in a warm-up match at Stirling last month.

The result means that the Scots finish the tournament having lost all three of their matches. Scotland narrowly lost to the host country Wales in a 30-31 but the optimism from this game was snuffed out when the Scots suffered a 43-0 defeat to Ireland last Tuesday.

Although defeated yesterday Scotland can take much the game, having won the second half after trailing 33-3 at the break. “We made a lot of mistakes in the first half and England were unforgiving. They punished us with five first-half tries,” said the Scotland Under-18 head coach, Ally Donaldson.

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But in the second half Scotland hit back effectively scoring tries by replacement scrum-half Harry Warr and flanker Calum Cruickshank (both Dollar Academy) and the Bath-based No.8 Dan Marek, all three converted by the Edinburgh Academy wing Ben Appleson, who also kicked a first-half penalty.

“We restored pride in the second half,” suggested Donaldson, adding: “Coming back like that speaks volumes for this group. It was tough for Scotland. This was our third game in eight days whereas for England it was only their second match in nine days.”