Christian Townsend and Ollie Leatherbarrow among the tries but Scotland Under-20 lose to England

The scoreboard doesn’t lie, and Scotland Under-20 can have no real complaints about the 31-12 defeat by England in the U20 Six Nations, but there were aspects of this performance in Cardiff which should provide serious encouragement to Sean Lineen’s side as they begin preparation for their round three clash against Italy on Thursday.

Scotland's try-scorer Christian Townsend is tackled during the Under-20 Six Nations match against England at Cardiff Arms Park. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire
Scotland's try-scorer Christian Townsend is tackled during the Under-20 Six Nations match against England at Cardiff Arms Park. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

Ultimately, they struggled to produce the sort of patience and accuracy which is required in the strike zone if you are going to win matches at this level, and they didn’t make England work anywhere near hard enough for their five tries. It is the second comprehensive defeat of the campaign for the young Scots who lost their opener to Ireland.

“I’m a glass half-full man,” said Lineen afterwards. “There were some really good stuff there. They played with a lot of heart and a lot of passion. But we didn't take our chances again. We were in the 22 a few times but didn't convert pressure into points. That's frustrating. At the other end, we gave England a number of soft tries. When we made mistakes, they scored tries. It was too easy for them.”

England snatched an early lead through captain Jack van Poortvliet, the Scots bounced back with a well taken try from Christian Townsend – the son of current Scotland and Lions coach Gregor – following a powerful burst from impressive hooker Jamie Drummond, but it was 19-5 by half-time thanks to further scores from Fin Smith and Deago Bailey.

Ollie Leatherbarrow impressed for Scotland U20s in the defeat by England in Cardiff. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

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England claimed the bonus point when man-of-the-match Sam Riley dotted down in the 50th minute, but the Scots stuck to their guns and finally got their second try through the excellent Ollie Leatherbarrow after finding themselves up against 13 men following a team yellow-card for Riley and a red card for Lucas Brooke – the son of All Blacks legend Zinzan – for a dangerous tackle on Ollie Melville.

Having worked so hard to get that score, it was frustrating that the Scots then coughed up another fairly easy try to England, with Arthur Relton being sent over by a well-judged cross-field kick from Smith.

Scott King thought he had scored a third try for Scotland in the corner in injury time, but the Television Match Official chalked it off due to a foot in touch.

Scorers. England: Tries: van Poortvliet, Smith, D Bailey, Riley, Relton. Cons: Smith 3.

Scotland: Tries: Townsend, Leatherbarrow. Con: Scott.

England: O Bailey (C Atkinson 51, P Brantingham 64, T Mathews 71); D Bailey (J Stewart 59), J Bates (P Cokanasiga 71), D Lancaster, A Relton; F Smith, J van Poortvliet; P Brantingham (T Haffar 58), S Riley, H Beaton (L Green 58), E Richards, A Groves (A Clark 57), E Ilione (H Taylor 17), L Brooke, J Clement.

Scotland: E Gourlay; R McKnight (O Melville 52, A Scott 63), S King, C Scott, M Gray; C Townsend, M Redpath (E Cunningham 74); M Jones (R Banatvala 52), J Drummond (D Hood 71), G Breese (O Frostick 59), E Ferrie (A Samuel 59), M Williamson, R Jackson (R Tait 59), O Leatherbarrow, B Muncaster.

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia).


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