England men U18s defeated France 29-25 in their second game of the U18 International Series in South Africa.
France held a narrow 13-10 lead at the break with England’s points coming via a Will Trenholm converted try and Charlie Atkinson’s penalty.
Second-half scores from Trenholm, Louis Hillman-Cooper and Will Joseph helped sealed victory, despite two late tries from France.
Having lost to Argentina in their opening game of the tournament, Jim Mallinder’s side scored four tries in their victory and will end the tour against South Africa Schools on Saturday.
The tour marks the start of the U18 international season for England’s pathway.
France had the opening try of the game, going over in the corner, taking advantage of an overlap on the left wing.
Atkinson sent over a penalty soon after for 5-3, before France scored a second, intercepting on halfway to run home unchallenged.
Trenholm bundled over off the back of a driving maul to get England back in the game and Atkinson’s conversion made it 10-10.
A France penalty just before the break gave them a 13-10 lead at half-time before Trenholm barged over for a second try.
Hillman-Cooper seared through midfield to cross for England’s third try which Orlando Bailey converted for 22-13.
Joseph then intercepted on halfway to run home unchallenged with Bailey adding the extras. France crossed twice late on but England held on for victory.
Jim Mallinder said: “I think it was a very encouraging performance. We learned some good lessons from last week, defensively I think we were very secure, made some good two-man tackles which helped stop the French offloads and in attack we were pretty clinical and took our chances.
“It’s a great result for the team, you always want to win but for us as coaches it’s the performance we’ll look at and I think we played really well.
“The players have worked really hard over the past few days and are improving which is what you want on tour and the challenge for us now is to get even better for our final game of the series against South Africa Schools which is going to another huge test for this squad.”
England men U18s to play France
- Oliver Melville – Sale Sharks (Sedbergh School)
- Oscar Beard – Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
- Will Joseph – London Irish (Millfield School)
- Ethan Grayson – Northampton Saints (Northampton School for Boys)
- Michael Dykes – London Irish (St Pauls College)
- Charlie Atkinson – Wasps (Abingdon School)
- Sam Bryan – Saracens (Felsted School)
- Tarek Haffar – London Irish (St Pauls College)
- John Stewart – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
- Joe Keohane – London Irish (St Pauls College)
- Freddie Thomas – Gloucester Rugby (Dean Close School)
- Ethan Staddon – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
- Emeka Ilione – Leicester Tigers (Rugby School)
- Harry Taylor – Gloucester Rugby (Clifton College)
- Will Trenholm – Harlequins (Cranleigh School)
- Archie Vanes – Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)
- Phil Brantingham – Newcastle Falcons (RGS Newcastle)
- Fin Baxter – Harlequins (Wellington College)
- Ewan Richards – Bath Rugby (Millfield School)
- Kit Smith – Leicester Tigers (Oakham School)
- Daniel Eckersley – Wasps (Bloxham School)
- Sam Edwards – Leicester Tigers (Brooksby Melton College)
- Orlando Bailey – Bath Rugby (Beechen Cliff School)
- Louis Hillman-Cooper – Gloucester Rugby (Cheltenham College)
- Alex Harmes – London Irish (St Pauls College)
- Matthew Ward – Newcastle Falcons (Gosforth Academy)
U18 International Series fixtures (all times BST):
Friday August 9 2019 – Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch
England U18 19-29 Argentina U18
Tuesday August 13 2019 – Paarl Gymnasium, Paarl
England U18 29-25 France U18
Saturday August 17 2019 – Hugenote High, Wellington
11h00 SA Schools A vs Argentina U18
12h30 France U18 vs Wales U18
14h00 SA Schools vs England U18