Joy for Malins, Singleton and Walker as England are crowned World Champions
- Credit: Archant
England Rugby’s sensational Saturday finished on a high – as their U20s defeated Ireland in the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship.
After securing a first ever series win in Australia, with a 3-0 whitewash earlier in the day, this young English side showed they could play a bit too.
Two tries from Harry Mallinder and Joe Marchant with one each for Callum Chick and Huw Taylor gave them a 45-21 win at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford.
Make no bones about it. There are plenty in this squad who will go on to play for the senior side in World Cups and on Lions Tours.
They played with a confidence that has been quite obviously growing as each game of this tournament has passed.
Max Malins (Old Albanian and Felsted School), Jack Singleton (Harpenden) and Billy Walker (Oaklands College) all started in an unchanged starting line-up from the semi-final against South Africa.
They had scored five tries in the first period that day and from the word go it looked as if they would do that again.
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They only managed three as it turned out with the big surprise being it took 13 minutes to open the scoring.
Marchant, surprisingly omitted from the player under the posts of the tournament shortlist, stepped right from the left wing and opened the taps to blaze in under the posts.
It wasn’t just the backs though who were enjoying themselves and the second try was all down to the forwards, Chick dotting down after a five-metre scrum had bulldozed its way to the line.
The third was also scored by a forward but it was the slight out of the back of hand from Jonny Williams to set Taylor up that was the key.
By the time the half-time whistle went it looked as if it was not a matter of if England would win, but by how much.
Thoughts though would have drifted to the meeting of the two sides in the Six Nations when Ireland came back from a 17-6 half-time deficit to win 26-23.
They would have been dispelled after two minutes of the second period when Mallinder finished off a great bit of work by Marchant and Williams.
But the try was just the start of a frantic 10 minutes which yielded two tries each.
Adam McBurney finished off a driving maul before Mallinder got his second after a neat give and go with Will Evans in midfield.
Shane Daly got Ireland’s second mere moments after a wicked bounce denied Williams a deserved score.
If there were any nerves in the England team they were calmed by a penalty from Mallinder after Kerins picked up a yellow card just past the hour.
And when Marchant was allowed the freedom of the pitch to pick-up a cross-field Mallinder kick it was time to celebrate.
Max Deegan’s try in the final minute was a mere consolation.
The celebrations will go on all night.
But further ahead is a glittering career for some of these players.
England: Boyce, Singleton, Walker, South, Taylor, Nott, Evans, Chick, Green, Mallinder, Gallagher, Williams, Marchant, Aspland-Robinson, Malins
Replacements: Piper, West, Stuart, Kitchener, Willis, Randall, Wright, Thorley
Tries: Marchant 13, 68, Chick 21, Taylor 31, Mallinder 42, 48
Conversions: Mallinder 13, 21, 31, 42, 48, 68
Penalties: Mallinder 61
Ireland: Porter, McBurney, Betts, O’Connor, Ryan, Jones, Aspil, Deegan, Kerris, McPhillips, Keenan, C.O’Brien, Daly, Byrne, Stockdale
Replacements: V.O’Brien, Bollard, Coyle, Mintern, Brown, Saunders, Connon, J.O’Brien
Tries: McBurney 47, Daly 52, Deegan 79
Conversions: McPhillips 47, 52, Connon 79
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)