Tom Parton and his England Under-20 teammates got their World Rugby U20 Championship defence off to a winning start with a comprehensive 74-17 victory over Samoa at Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi.

England led 43-3 at half-time having scored seven tries in an impressive first period.

Ali Crossdale, Zach Mercer (2), Max Malins, Alex Mitchell, Dominic Morris and Gabriel Ibitoye all touched down in the first half.

Further tries from Marcus Street, Crossdale and Ciaran Knight took the score to 60-3, but Samoa got their first try of the game through Losi Filipo.

Morris and Ibitoye crossed in quick succession while Filipo also had a second in the final action of the game.

The game also marked under-20 debuts for forward Dino Lamb and Crossdale as England look to continue their proud record in the tournament.

England captain Zach Mercer said: “We came up against a very passionate team who were very physical so I’m pleased with how we performed. I really wanted us to play with a smile and enjoy it and I think we did that. We’ll enjoy the win and then focus on our next game against Wales.”

England head coach Ian Vass said: “I thought we handled the first half very well and didn’t give Samoa much to go on and controlled set piece as well as field position. Overall, it was a strong performance and generally a good start but we have some things to work on, which is what you want from an opening game.

“We’ll hopefully come out a little bit tidier and more organised in certain areas which will be beneficial to us when we play Wales.”

England U20

15. Tom Parton (London Irish)
14. Ali Crossdale (Saracens)
13. Dominic Morris (Saracens)
12. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
10. Max Malins (Saracens)
9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
1. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby)
2. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons)
3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs)
4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)
5. Dino Lamb (Harlequins)
6. Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons)
7. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby)
8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) captain


16. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
17. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
18. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
19. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors)
20. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)
21. Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
22. Max Wright (Yorkshire)
23. Jacob Umaga (Wasps)

Tries: Crossdale (2), Mercer (2), Malins, Mitchell, Morris (2), Ibitoye (2), Street, Knight
Conversions:  Malins (4), Umaga (3)

England World Rugby U20 Championship fixtures

England 74 v 17 Samoa: Wednesday 31 May – Avchala Stadium
England v Wales: Sunday 4 June - Avchala Stadium (5:30pm KO BST)
England v Australia: Thursday 8 June -  Avchala Stadium (5:30pm KO BST)
Semi-finals and knock-out matches (Tuesday 13 June) Details TBC
Final and knock-out matches (Sunday 18 June) Details TBC

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