England have brought an end to France's unbeaten run to keep up their hopes of winning the U20 Six Nations Championship while Italy and Ireland won their respective Round 4 encounters against Wales and Scotland respectively.
France U20 6 - 22 England U20, Beziers
Fly-half Romain Ntamack kicked a penalty in the 8th minute to kick-start the proceedings for France but his opposite number Tom Hardwick helped England level the scores 24 minutes later. With five minutes to go into halftime, Cameron Redpath crossed over that was improved by Hardwick to provide England a seven-point lead at the end of the first half.
Hardwick extended England's lead to 10 points with a penalty at the start of the second half but a sin-bin to Ben Earl dented their momentum a bit. The start of the final quarter saw Ntamack and Hardwick trade penalties as England maintained their 10 point lead but the decisive moment came in the 74th minute when France were reduced to 13 men with Hassane Kolingar and Pierre-Henri Azagoh red-carded following a horror spear tackle. Having the numerical advantage, England kicked two more penalties through Hardwick as they completed a 16-point victory.
Standings: Both France and England are at the first and second positions respectively with 15 points apiece.
Wales U20s 7 - 18 Italy U20s, Colwyn Bay
Prop Michele Mancini Parri got Italy off the mark with a fifth-minute try. Antonio Rizzi missed out on the conversion but kicked a penalty 13 minutes later to take them to an eight-point lead which remained the only points from both the teams in the first half. Wales' response came at the start of the second half when winger Tom Rogers dived past the line with fullback Cai Evans kicking a conversion to reduce the gap to one point.
Italy suffered major setback with Andrea De Masi and Enrico Ghigo in the 52nd and 72nd minutes respectively but despite that
Matteo Luccardi scored their second try with Rizzi slotting a conversion and a penalty on either side to seal an 11 point victory.
Standings: This is Italy's first win of the tournament as they climb to the fifth position while Wales are at fourth.
Ireland U20s 30 - 25 Scotland U20s, Dublin
Ireland completely dominated the first quarter with a second minute try from Jack O'Sullivan while Harry Byrne slotting a conversion and kicking two more penalties as well to take the score to 13-0. Back to back penalties in the 23rd and 31st minutes from Ross Thompson helped Scotland bounce back but Matthew Agnew with his 34th minute try ensured Ireland ended the first half with an 18-6 lead.
The start of the second half saw Kyle Rowe and Matthew Dalton exchange tries but Martin Hughes' touchdown in the 57th minute helped Scotland reduce the gap to 23-18 at the end of the third quarter. As the final seven minutes kicked off, O'Sullivan with his second try extended Ireland's lead to 12 points before Nathan McBeth's last-gasp try reduced Scotland's losing margin to five points.
The win has taken Ireland to the third position in the table while Scotland slip to last position.
Fixtures for Round 5: (16-03-2018)
Italy U20s v Scotland U20s, Stadio della Vittoria
England U20s v Ireland U20s, Ricoh Arena
Wales U20s v France U20s, Colwyn Bay