9 June 2017
Theo Brophy Clews and Tom Parton did the Red Rose proud last night as they helped England Under-20s to a dramatic 20-19 victory over Australia in their final pool game to book their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship semi-finals.
The London Irish duo played the full 80 minutes of a pulsating affair in Georgia in which England had to overturn a six-point deficit at the break.
England’s Gabriel Ibitoye scored his fifth try of the tournament which Max Malins converted, while Brophy Clews also sent over a penalty for the reigning champions.
Exeter’s Marcus Street bundled over and Malins' conversion put England in front, however, Australia’s Harry Nucifora kicked a penalty for 19-17 to set up a tense finale.
A Malins penalty with two minutes left won the game and England will progress to face South Africa in the semi-finals on Tuesday 13 June, live on ITV4 (kick-off 3pm BST).
“You’ve just got to give the guys huge credit, they know how to win games,” said England Forwards Coach Louis Deacon.
“We didn’t get some of the decisions we probably deserved, but they stuck with it and experience got us through. It reminded me a lot of those last few minutes against Ireland in the Six Nations, it was a similar sort of feeling and the boys were outstanding.”
Captain Zach Mercer said: “Full credit to Australia who pushed us all the way and I thought we were outstanding today. We showed once again how hard we work for each other and I’d like to dedicate the victory to the guys that have had to leave the tournament because of injury.
“We will celebrate the victory and then focus on South Africa who are a strong side so I’m sure that will be another tough game.”
England U20s: 15 Tom Parton (London Irish) , 14 Paulo Odogwu (Sale Sharks), 13 Will Butler (Worcester Warriors), 12 Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish), 11 Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 10 Max Mallins (Saracens) (c), 9 Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby), 1 Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby), 2 Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby), 3 Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 4 Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs), 5 Jack Nay (Saracens), 6 Dino Lamb (Harlequins), 7 Ben Earl (Saracens), 8 Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) (c)
Replacements: 16 Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby), 17 Ralph Adams (Saracens), 18 Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby), 19 Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors), 20 Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons), 21 Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby), 22 Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), 23 Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby)
England's 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship fixtures
England 74 v 14 Samoa: Wednesday 31 May – Avchala Stadium
England 34 v 22 Wales: Sunday 4 June - Avchala Stadium
England 20 v 19 Australia: Thursday 8 June - Avchala Stadium
England v South Africa: Tuesday 13 June - 3pm (BST) - Mikheil Meskhi Stadium
Final/third place play-off (Sunday 18 June) Details TBC
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