Exeter Chiefs Academy youngster Stuart Townsend scored two tries as England Under-18s kicked off their season with an impressive nine-try win against Scotland in Darlington.
The talented scrum-half, along with forwards Luke Chapman and Charlie Hewitt, was one of three Chiefs players to feature for John Fletcher’s side, whose others points came courtesy of
Tries from wing Tom Fowlie (2), flanker Andrew Hughes, scentre Nick Tompkins (2), fly half Josh Sharp and centre Brett Herron, who also added six conversions.
The hosts got off to a dream start and were ahead with just two minutes on the clock – aggressive running created an overlap and Fowlie went over in the corner. Scotland fought back though and were rewarded after a spell in England’s 22 with a penalty, duly converted by full back Gavin Parker.
But the visitors were reduced to 14-men with 17 minutes played when No. 8 Alasdair Mackie took England full-back Howard Packman out in the air and England made the man advantage count. They had their second try of the afternoon with 24 played, elusive running and some deft offloads created space and Fowlie was given the ball 10 yards out to dive over for his second try.
The hosts had their third with 28 played, Herron showed good strength to shrug off a couple of challenges before touching down between the posts and the London Irish back converted his own try to make it 17-3.
Minutes later and England had scored again, good work from the pack eventually freed up space for flanker Andrew Hughes to dot down, and there was still time for England to score their fifth before the break. Good pace from wing Tom Howe set up Townsend to score and Herron made no mistake with the conversion.
Scotland started the second half positively and had their first try two minutes after the restart, a strong rolling maul was eventually touched down by lock Neil Irvine-Hess but England hit straight back and Townsend showed good strength to touch down over the line.
England’s seventh try came after 56 minutes, a nice step from replacement No. 9 James Mitchell freed up the impressive Nick Tompkins to touch down for a deserved try.
To score nine-tries is a credit to the guys – Chisholm
Scotland never let up though and had their second try with ten minutes left to play, smooth passing from the backs eventually created space for replacement wing Iain Sim to score in the corner to make it 43-13.
However, England kicked on again and Tompkins’ second try came minutes later and with the last play of the game, No. 10 Sharp picked up a loose Scotland pass to run in from over half way, Herron converted to secure the 57-13 win.
Captain James Chisholm said: “We’re delighted to get the win, to score nine-tries is a credit to the guys and I think we deserved it for the way we played. Scotland never let up though and fair play to them, it was a tough Test match. You can’t single out any individuals, the whole squad played their part and we’re really looking forward to heading over to France for the FIRA/AER European Championship later this month.”
England Under-18s starting XV v Scotland
15 Howard Packman (Moulton College & Northampton Saints)
14 Tom Howe (Shiplake College & London Wasps)
13 Nick Tompkins (Oaklands College & Saracens)
12 Brett Herron (Wellington College & London Irish)
11 Tom Fowlie (St Paul’s Catholic College & London Irish)
10 Josh Sharp (Oaklands College & Saracens)
9 Stuart Townsend (Ivybridge Community College & Exeter Chiefs)
1 Luke Chapman (Truro College & Exeter Chiefs)
2 Jack Walker (Prince Henry’s & Leeds Carnegie)
3 Paul Hill (Prince Henry’s Grammar & Leeds Carnegie)
4 Jordan Onojaife (Stowe & Northampton Saints)
5 Charlie Ewels (Bryanston School & Bath Rugby)
6 Andrew Hughes (Hartpury College & Sale Sharks)
7 Andrew Boyce (Kings Worcester &Worcester Warriors)
8 James Chisholm (Brighton College & Harlequins, capt)
16 Sam James (Bishop’s Stortford & Saracens) on for Jack Walker 56 mins
17 George Edgson (Hartpury College & London Wasps) on for Luke Chapman 63 mins
18 Neale Farthing (Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth College & Leicester Tigers) on for Paul Hill 54 mins
19 Charlie Hewitt (Ivybridge College & Exeter Chiefs) on for Jordan Onojaife 50 mins
20 Josh Peters (Oundle School & Northampton Saints) on for Andrew Hughes 63 mins
21 James Mitchell (Lymm School & Sale Sharks) on for Stuart Townsend 52 mins
22 Josh Skelcey (Moulton College & Northampton) on for Tom Fowlie 25 mins
23 Louis Clayton-Molloy (Harrow School & London Wasps) on for Howard Packman 52 mins