|England were crowned World Rugby U20 champions for the third time in four years after recording an emphatic 45-21 victory over Ireland at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.
Martin Haag’s side scored three first half tries through Joe Marchant, Callum Chick and Huw Taylor with Harry Mallinder converting all three in a fine first-half of rugby to go into the break 21-0 up.
Ireland came back into the game with converted tries from Adam McBurney and Shane Daly but Mallinder crossed twice himself, also kicking two conversions and a penalty.
A second try from Marchant, which Mallinder converted, added further gloss to England’s victory despite Ireland’s late consolation through Max Deegan.
The six try victory rounded off a memorable day for England Rugby following the success of the senior side in sealing a 3-0 series whitewash over Australia.
Head Coach Martin Haag said: ‘We’ve shown incredible team spirit which is a key ingredient to any side. The performance was outstanding; I thought the way we adapted and turned defence into attack was brilliant. We played with high intensity, the first half was superb. We still missed some opportunities, and in the second period we let them back in, but the way the players handled the pressure over the 80 minutes is massive credit to them.
‘We’re in a good place, the first-half performance was electric to watch. That’s how these guys want to play – they want to play an exciting brand of rugby. Sometimes there are a few errors that come with this, but they want to express themselves and it’s great we’ve been able to implement that approach in a short space of time, they’ve come on leaps and bounds. Rory Teague [Assistant Coach] must take credit for the great work he’s done with the backs and the attack.
‘These players have a huge amount of potential, they have a bright future ahead of them and this is just part of their rugby journey. The key thing for me is that they’ve made some friendships and bonds that will last for life and have made a little bit of history for themselves. Some of this group will be available next year and we want to continue the great work that is being done at under 16 and 18 by John Fletcher and the player pathway.
‘We saw England complete a series whitewash this morning and the majority of those guys have come through that pathway. Our challenge as coaches is to continue that.’
Captain Harry Mallinder said: ‘I’ve gained some great experience during this tournament. It’s an amazing opportunity to play with your mates, who you have played with through age-grade rugby, and test yourself against the very best in the world.
‘It’s been an amazing journey from when we first met up in Newcastle to this moment. It’s been a huge squad effort, we were very unfortunate to lose the likes of Theo Brophy Clews, who was a big part of our group, but the resilience we showed after losing him and also Jack Walker, a key leader and personality, shows our character. To win the tournament was the icing on the cake. We’ve put in a lot of hard work, it’s great to get the win as reward.
‘It’s been a great summer, what we’ve enjoyed most is the support and relationship we’ve had from the seniors and Saxons. We’ve heard from them throughout and that’s a huge boost because as players that’s where we want to be.’
Tries: Joe Marchant, Callum Chick, Huw Taylor, Harry Mallinder (2), Joe Marchant
Conversions: Harry Mallinder (6)
Penalty: Harry Mallinder
England v Ireland:
15 Max Malins (Saracens)
14 Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins)
13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
12 Johnny Williams (London Irish)
11 Matt Gallagher (Saracens)
10 Harry Mallinder – Captain (Northampton Saints)
9 Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)
1 Lewis Boyce (Yorkshire Carnegie)
2 Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
3 Billy Walker (Saracens)
4 Stan South (Harlequins)
5 Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)
6 George Nott (Sale Sharks)
7 Will Evans (Leicester Tigers)
8 Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons)
16 Charlie Piper (Harlequins)
17 Tom West (Wasps)
18 Will Stuart (Wasps)
19 Andrew Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
20 Jack Willis (Wasps)
21 Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
22 Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie)
23 Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
England 48-10 Italy (Tuesday 7 June) KO 19:45, Manchester City Academy Stadium
England 44-0 Scotland (Saturday 11 June) KO 18:00, Manchester City Academy Stadium
England 17-13 Australia (Wednesday 15 June) KO 19:45 AJ Bell Stadium
England 39-17 South Africa (Monday 20 June) KO 19:45, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Final England 45-21 v Ireland (Saturday 25 June) 7pm AJ Bell Stadium