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Belcher strikes as Wales Under-20s win

8th February 2015

Cardiff Blues hooker Liam Blecher grabbed a crucial try as Wales Under-20s saw off the considerable challenge from the double world champions England Under-20s to kick off the Six Nations campaign in style on Saturday night.

Allan Lewis' charges showed a willingness to take England on in attack, a steely edge in defence, and no little mental toughness to hold on for the victory.

Wales were first on the scoreboard with Dan Jones slotting a penalty after some foul play on Cardiff Blues scrum half Tomos Williams by England flanker Charlie Beckett, the flanker spending 10 minutes in the sin bin for his efforts.

However, Wales weren't able to capitalise on the man advantage, losing possession in the line-out and England piling on the pressure up front, leading to a try for No 8 James Chisholm from the back of the scrum, Rory Jennings converting.

Dan Jones kept the home side in touch with a second penalty but England maintained the upper hand with a second try, this time for centre Joe Marchant.

However, Wales stuck to their principles of challenging the opposition with ball in hand – along with meeting the physical challenge of the double world champions. And continued pressure from the Welsh young guns finally paid dividends, with the line-out also coming together and Blues hooker Belcher burrowing over, taking the half-time score to 11-12.

Wales started the second half as they had ended the first, a Dan Jones penalty taking them two points ahead. They fronted up to England's scrum effort and defensively were solid. Newport captain Ollie Griffiths showed excellent skills with the ball in hand, finding neat running angles. 

England were down to 13 men after 55 minutes, with yellow cards for persistent offending for Kieran Treadwell and then prop Paul Hill.

Wales' second try was similar to the first, Dragons lock Joe Davies taking clean line-out ball and Scarlets flanker Tom Phillips claiming the touch down, Jones adding the extras.

England came back with a penalty from Jennings but despite a mounted final attack from the visitors and a yellow card for Wales centre Garyn Smith.

Coach co-ordinator Allan Lewis said, "This is a huge achievement for the players. Despite the technical and tactical awareness shown by the boys, it was sheer character that ensured they held on to win the match.

"We knew England would be a huge challenge as world champions and we had to take our game to them - we wouldn't win the game simply by defending. 

"It's always a huge boost when you beat England and we will enjoy the win before reviewing the game and looking ahead at Scotland on Friday."