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Assiratti stars but Wales U20 fall to defeat

5th June 2017

Keiron Assiratti produced a starring performance but it was not enough for Wales U20 as they fell to a 34-20 defeat to England U20.

The Welsh young guns, with six Cardiff Blues in the starting line-up, needed to win following their opening World Rugby U20s Championship defeat to Australia.

They were left with a mountain to climb as they trailed 21-3 as half-time approached but Blues tight-head Assiratti spearheaded the fight-back with his team’s opening try.

He also part of a dominant front-row, which also included regional teammate Rhys Carre, and earned a penalty try.

But England hit-back with a fourth try against the run of play, deeming Joe Goodfield’s late score a mere consolation.

It looked as though they had opened the scoring on five minutes when Robson’s chip was hacked on.

Blacker appeared to win the foot-race as he pounced under the sticks but television replays showed Llandovery-product Harry Randall had got a hand in first.

Wales U20s were awarded a scrum and their pack earned a penalty, which was duly slotted by Robson.

Ian Vass’ side however, had been winning the collisions and Ben Earl made major inroads. He found Max Wright in support and the Yorkshire Carnegie centre found the scoring pass from the floor.

Malins converted the effort and he was back at the tee four minutes later as England added a quick-fire second.

This time it was Josh Bayliss that did the damage as he drew two defenders before offloading out of contact, with a fortuitous deflection to Ibitoye, who pirouetted over.

Malins added the extras from the touchline and Wales were faced with an uphill challenge to get back into the encounter.

They  added a third try on 29 minutes as Ibitoye finished acrobatically in the corner, following a half-break by his wing partner Sam Aspland-Robinson. Malins maintained his 100 per-cent strike-rate.

Matters were made worse when captain, Will Jones was sin-binned, perhaps harshly for playing the ball off his feet. Malins was on target once more to open up a 24-3 lead. 

On 35 minutes the encounter came to a halt for 10 minutes due to a power cut at the Avchala Stadium, allowing Wales the early opportunity to regroup.

They returned reinvigorated and claimed their first try of the encounter with the last play of the half.

Robson dinked a penalty into the corner and Assiratti powered over from a set-play, which saw the Cardiff Blues tight-head peel to the front of the lineout.

Alarm bells were soon ringing in the second-half as Malins sent a cross-kick to the corner, it bounced in the in goal area but fortunately Talbot-Davies won the foot-race.

Wales were spurred on by a rampaging break by Lane, who bull-dozed through Tom Parton, but the cover defence was too good.

Strange’s men remained in the ascent and enjoyed a 10-minute period of dominance after Sean Moore was held up over the line.

The Welsh scrum, which had been so strong throughout the encounter caused England all manner of problems. After three penalty restarts replacement prop Ollie Dawe was shown yellow. 

Ralph Adams-Hale returned to the fray but he could do little to help his pack as Wales marched them back over their own line, forcing a penalty try.

Due to new laws being trialled the conversion was not necessary, with a penalty try automatically seven-points.

Wales continued to grow with confidence and almost claimed a third try when Reuben Morgan-Williams sniped through.

With plenty of defenders back, he went on an arcing run before firing a long pass to Ioan Nicholas, who was tackled short.

They hammered at the Red Rose try-line but to no avail and Malins just beat Conbeer to a Robson cross-kick.

England survived unscathed and they displayed a ruthless edge as they hit-back with a fourth try through Alex Mitchell, while Malins kept the scoreboard ticking.

England: Tries – Justin Clegg , Gabriel Ibitoye (2), Alex Mitchell; Cons – Max Malins (4); Pen – Max Malins; DG – Max Malins

Wales: Tries – Keiron Assiratti, Penalty try*, Joe Goodchild; Cons – A Robson (2); Pen -  A Robson

*Under new laws being trialled at the World Rugby U20s Championship penalty tries are now automatically seven points.