Dominant England secure World Championship final spot after South African romp
PUBLISHED: 09:53 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:53 21 June 2016
England are through to the final of the U20 World Rugby Championship after a sensational 39-17 win over South Africa.
Their performance throughout, but especially in the opening 40 minutes at the Manchester City Academy Stadium, was a near to perfection as is possible.
They ran in five tries, including one for former Old Albanian Max Malins, as the Junior Boks were left shell-shocked.
And bar a three minute spell in the second half, the hosts dominated in all aspects.
Scrums and line-outs, helped by front-row duo of Harpenden’s Jack Singleton and Oaklands College’s Billy Walker, rarely faltered with the slick passing and running of the backs a joy to watch.
They took the lead after just three minutes through scrum-half Max Green and extended that advantage on six minutes through Huw Taylor.
A penalty from Curwin Bosch got South Africa on the board but within moments they had lost Jeremy Ward to a yellow card after a dangerous tackle on Malins.
Sam Aspland-Robinson made them pay with England’s third try and Jonny Williams crossed for fourth.
Even a yellow card of their own could not slow England down and Malins streaked through after quick hands from the excellent Joe Marchant.
South Africa made three changes at the start of the second half but it did not stop the tide of pressure as England continued to press.
However, it was in the midst of this onslaught that South Africa threatened an unlikely comeback.
Edwill Van der Merwe grabbed a cross-field kick almost on his own try-line before sprinting the length of the field for the Boks first try.
And within three minutes they had another, Bosch crossing this time.
It brought the score to 31-17 and could have signified an English collapse.
Harry Mallinder’s almost instant reply with the boot snuffed out any resistance and it was no surprise when England completed the win in the final 10 minutes, Max Wright finding a gap to score.
Ireland await the young English side in Saturday’s final after seeing off Argentina in the other semi.