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Wales Under 21s Lose to England

22nd June 2006

Wales will have to battle it out for seventh place against Argentina on IRB U21 World Championship finals day this Sunday after losing out 11-13 to England in Vichy.

Despite the end result, Wales could not have made a better start - scrum half Nicky Griffiths burrowing his way over the England line for a fourth minute try that Aled Thomas failed to improve. England, who were significantly bigger at forward, were once again woefully one dimensional in the opening stages and Wales had to do nothing more than field a series of poorly directed kicks.

Thomas increased the lead after nine minutes with a penalty from in front after Tom Riley was taken out and to their credit, and in contrast, Wales did their best to utitlise their posession positively whenever possible.

England outside half Toby Flood reduced the deficit with a penalty from in front of the posts after 13 minutes, but with Wales keen to make amends for last season's defeat at the hands of England's Class of 2005 in Mendoza, it was England who should have leaked a second score after 17 minutes. Unfortunately, with the line at his mercy, Thomas took his eye off the ball and spilt a straightforward pass from Riley.

With Wales all but out on their feet after two tough weeks of competition in the Auvergne, it was England who started to turn the screw as Wales began to feel the heat. However, when Thomas dropped a goal 10 minutes from time to make it 11-6, a victory was certainly on the cards.

Unfortunately, a try from prop David Wilson that Ryan Lamb converted gave England the lead for the first time six minutes from time. Thomas might have won it in the final minute but his penalty attempt from 45 metres was short and wide.

Wales must now play Argentina for the second time in eight days on Sunday after the Pumas lost 42-20 to Ireland in the other 5th-8th place play-off match.