Jubb stars in England win
Oaklands College pupil helps U18s to victory
RUGBY UNION: OAKLANDS College star Tom Jubb was part of the England U18 side that recorded a convincing 29-12 win over Ireland in Dublin.
England ran in four tries at Donnybrook Stadium capping off a fine display of free-flowing rugby and Jubb believes the result is a step towards becoming the best side in the world at U18 level.
“It was pretty physical out there – they were very hot on the breakdown but I think the strength of our bench told in the end and that’s what made the difference,” he said afterwards.
“We had a warm up game a few weeks back but that was nothing compared to this, the whole match-day feeling is something that can’t be replicated and the fact that it was a lot of players’ first match today added an extra bit of spice.
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“We’ve got a lot of quality lads in the squad and we all trust one another and that’s so important at this level. It probably took a few of us a while to adjust to the pace of the game but once we relaxed and found our rhythm there wasn’t any stopping us. We want to be the best team in the world at this age grade and today was an important step in making that possible.”
Anthony Watson got England off to the best possible start in the 15th minute after evading several would-be tacklers to touch down with Will Hooley adding the extras.
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The home side reduced the deficit 10 minutes later courtesy of a try from Luke McGrath but with the conversion missed, England retained their lead.
The sides had to wait until the second half before adding to the scoreboard, Hooley extending England’s lead with a penalty.
With 15 minutes left England found themselves behind for the first time in the match. Ireland scrambled their way through the England defence and over the line before adding the extras.
However, a brilliant solo try from full-back Jack Nowell put England back in front and the visitors never looked back. Henry Slade slotted the conversion and another after scrum-half James Lightfoot-Brown touched down from a fine team move.
England’s final score came from Mark Jennings who displayed explosive pace to cross the whitewash in the corner and round off a fine performance from the visitors.
Head coach John Fletcher was delighted with the way England coped with the opposition’s physical presence and praised the character of his players: “A lot of our players made their England debuts today, and although that showed early on, you have to remember that a lot of the lads haven’t played for a few weeks because of the weather.
“As the game went on I thought we grew into it and as we introduced the substitutes the level of intensity didn’t drop, in fact it probably improved if anything.”
Fletcher added: “Although the 29-12 scoreline may flatter us a little, I did think that we were the better side. A win like that can provide a catalyst for our whole season and hopefully it’s set the tone of what we expect.”