England U18s lose to France at Six Nations Festival


England U18s were beaten 24-14 by France in their final game of the Six Nations Festival in Wales.

John Fletcher's side headed into Sunday's fixture at the Cardiff Arms Park off the back of two narrow defeats to Scotland and Italy in the tournament.

England trailed 10-0 at half-time through a converted Theo Costosseque try and a Remi Brosset penalty.

Second half converted tries from JJ Tonks and Will Montgomery gave England the lead before a Jordan Joseph score and a penalty try won the game for France.

France had the first points of the game with Brosset sending over a penalty in what was an even start to the match.

Their first try came through Costosseque after he finished off a French break down the right wing from inside their own half which Brosset converted.

Erwan Dridi should have scored before the break to extend the lead further but did not ground the ball correctly in the final action of the half.

George Martin’s break through midfield took England to within five metres of France’s tryline but the ball was knocked on in contact and the pressure alleviated.

Tonks finished off persistent England pressure inside France's 22m to get England back in the game and Hodge's conversion narrowed the deficit to three points.

Montgomery barged over from close range for a second England try which Hodge converted for a 14-10 lead, but France No 8 Joseph crashed his way over for their second try and Viallard sent over the extras to take the score to 17-14.

A penalty try soon after extended the lead further and France held on for victory.

John Fletcher said: "It was a much-improved performance.

"It’s the level of performance you would expect from an England side at this age group and I thought it was a really good advert for U18s rugby and was played with a really good intent.

"We went ahead with not many minutes to go and were unfortunate to lose the game.

"We’ve played well in the first half against Scotland, the second half against Italy and we performed well for most of this game.

"These are young players and they are in an environment where they are encouraged to try things and they will learn lots from these three games.

"We’ve enjoyed coaching them and spending time with the players over the past 10 days and lots of them will go on to do really good things with the U20s. A few are back with us next year so we are excited about that."

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