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Final heartache for Caulfield

Picture: Getty Images

By Jamie Hopkins
19/6/17

Exeter Chiefs lock Josh Caulfield was part of the England side who were defeated 64-17 by New Zealand in the final of the World Rugby Under-20s Championship in Georgia.

They trailed 40-7 at the break with New Zealand scoring tries through Dalton Papali’I, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Asafo Aumua 2, Isaia Walker-Leawere and Luke Jacobson with Stephen Perofeta contributing 10 points.

England’s try came from Ben Earl, which Max Malins converted. Josh McKay and Alex Mitchell traded tries after the break before New Zealand added to their lead through Aumua and Tom Christie. Josh Bayliss scored England’s third while Jacobson had a second and the final try of the game.

The side had defied the odds to reach their fifth successive World Rugby U20 Championship final.

Heading into the tournament five members of the U20 Elite Performance Squad were called into the senior set up for the two-Test tour of Argentina while they also lost five key players to injury out in Georgia.

Nonetheless the side had bonus-point victories over Samoa and Wales before beating Australia in their final pool game.

A late Zach Mercer try in the last four secured their place in Sunday’s final but the Baby Blacks proved too strong.

England U20 head coach Ian Vass said: “The physical attributes of New Zealand meant they just kept coming and unfortunately we weren’t able to stick with them to make it the tight game that we wanted.

“The way we fought back in the second half shows the fight and the spirit in the team that we have displayed the whole tournament. We are massively proud of their efforts over the past three weeks and the whole season.”

England U20:
15. Tom Parton (London Irish)
14. Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby)
13. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors)
12. Jacob Umaga (Wasps)
11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)
10. Max Malins (Saracens)
9. Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
1. Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens)
2. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby)
3. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby)
4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)
5. Jack Nay (Saracens)
6. Dino Lamb (Harlequins)
7. Ben Earl (Saracens)
8. Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) captain

Replacements:
16. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby)
17. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby)
18. Alex Seville (Gloucester Rugby)
19. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors)
20. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby)
21. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
22. James Grayson (Northampton Saints)
23. Paolo Odogwu (Sale Sharks)

England’s 2017 World Rugby U20 Championship results:
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 24 v 22 South Africa: Tuesday 13 June – Mikheil Meskhi Stadium
England 17 v 64 New Zealand: Sunday 18 June – Mikheil Meskhi Stadium