Wales U20s only side unbeaten in Six Nations

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 12 February 2013
 Wales U20s only side unbeaten in Six Nations
Wales U20s gave their fans cause to celebrate with an impressive win in France

Wales are the only unbeaten side after two rounds of the RBS Under 20 Six Nations following a 27-13 win away to France on Sunday.

Sam Davies, son of current Gloucester head coach Nigel, matched his 12-point haul from the opening win over Ireland, by converting all three of Wales’ first-half tries as well as kicking a penalty and a drop goal.

The 19-year-old Ospreys fly half also had a hand in Cory Allen’s try when his long pass picked out the centre, who stepped inside the cover defence to touch down.

Either side of Allen’s try there were scores for flanker Sion Bennett, following a poor kick from France fly half Enzo Selponi, and lively scrum half Rhodri Williams.

Wales went into the interval at Stade Marcel Michelin holding a 21-6 advantage, with all six of France’s points coming from the boot of scrum half Baptiste Serin.

France only breached the visitors’ line once in the second half and that score – for wing Maxime Wieprecht – came while Wales were down to 14 men following prop Nicky Thomas’ sin-binning for  persistent infringements at scrum-time.

Wales lost another man to the bin when Gareth Thomas was carded for a dangerous tackle on Wieprecht, but two further strikes from the boot of Davies completing the scoring at 27-13.

Keeping feet on the ground

Danny Wilson’s side head into their third fixture against Italy with two wins from two having narrowly beaten Ireland at home in their opening match.

The Azzurrini are the only team in the Six Nations that will not be in France for the IRB Junior World Championship in June, having been relegated to the sister IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy, and have now lost both matches to sit bottom of the standings.

Wales, by way of contrast, achieved a best-ever third-place finish at JWC 2012 and appear in very good shape to back that up with a U20 Six Nations title following what manager Mark Taylor described as “a great performance” in France.

However, former international Taylor issued a note of caution ahead of the trip to Viterbo in central Italy a week on Friday, insisting “we can’t afford to get ahead of ourselves, we just need to keep going with the game plan we’ve got.”

“That was just a great performance,” Taylor added. “We played with 14 men for 20 minutes and we showed great character. They are a young bunch of kids but they have grown from last week. It is a very intimidating atmosphere but they delivered. They need to take all the plaudits that are given them.”

Italy fell to a 30-17 defeat at the hands of Scotland in round two. Centre Tommy Allan, who scored Scotland’s only points in their 15-6 opening night loss to England, contributed a further 16 points against the Azzurrini through a converted try and three penalties.

Further tries from wing Damian Hoyland and captain Jonny Gray, either side of one from Italy’s Maxime Mbanda, secured the win with outside centre Michele Campagnaro’s score at the death little more than a consolation.

Ireland leave it late

Ireland are next up for Scotland and will  travel to Galashiels in full of confidence following a last-gasp 16-15 victory over defending champions England in Athlone.

Coping well with the loss of flanker Ross Moriarty to a red card in the 23rd minute, England looked on course for victory thanks to the excellent goal kicking of Henry Slade, who kicked five penalties from five attempts.

However, Ireland centre Tom Daly had the final word when he converted Rory Scholes’ 76th-minute try from wide on the left to snatch victory and avoid another narrow loss in 2013 after the 17-15 loss to Wales on day one.

“I just tried to blank everything out. I’ve done it in training. I treated it like it was just another kick and thankfully it went over,” said man-of-the-match Daly, who had earlier kicked two penalties.

“We knew we could beat England. We talked about it all week; we’ve beaten them as Under 18s and Under 19s. We didn’t talk much about the sending-off; we just knuckled down and got on with it.

“Our pack really fronted up. They were amazing again, like they were last week. The Six Nations is all open again, and hopefully we’re back on the road to the Championship.”