England 42 Ireland 15: Sloan one of five Red Rose scorers
England 42 Ireland 15: Harry Sloan helps the Red Rose ease to victory in Junior World Championship semi-final
Harry Sloan scored one of five tries to book his and England’s second successive appearance in the IRB Junior World Championship final with a 42-15 win against Ireland.
Sloan, who started as England beat Wales 23-15 in last year’s final in France, was one of five players to touch down in Auckland with South Africa now standing between them and the defence of their crown.
Northampton Saints duo Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, a replacement against Wales 12 months ago, and Howard Packman, Bath Rugby’s Tom Woolstencroft and London Wasps’ Gus Jones followed suit while Gloucester Rugby’s Billy Burns kicked 14 points.
Packman also slotted a drop goal and head coach Nick Walshe admitted reaching the IRB Junior World Championship final for the second time in succession felt equally as good as doing it the first time.
“We’re pleased with how we played – particularly in that first half, we challenged the guys to start well and they delivered. Ireland were physical and caused us problems, but we dealt with them well,” he said.
“It feels just as special this year as it did last – South Africa will provide a real test for us, but we’re excited – it doesn’t get much bigger.”
England made an uncompromising start and were 13-0 up with ten minutes on the clock. Burns slotted over a penalty, before Sloan picked a great line to crash over. The Gloucester Rugby fly half added the extras before scoring his second three-pointer soon after.
Ireland hit back with a penalty from Ross Byrne after they had been close to crossing the whitewash, but England soaked up the pressure and Hobbs-Awoyemi ran through a gap to score minutes later.
England had their third try of the half when Burns’ accurate cross-field kick found Packman in space. The Saints flyer still had much to do, but he stepped his man and scored under the posts.
A delicate grubber-kick from loose-head prop Hobbs-Awoyemi put pressure on Ireland who ran the ball into touch in their own 22. From the resulting line-out Woolstencroft went over from the back of a rolling maul.
In the second half Ireland upped their game and put England under pressure. An opportunistic Packman drop goal made it 34-3, but Ireland had their first try soon after for 34-10.
Jones then went over for England’s final try, again from the back of a rolling maul – his second of the tournament before Ireland scored their second try to round off the scoring.
England U20s: Aaron Morris (Bedford Blues), Howard Packman (Northampton Saints), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Harry Sloan (Harlequins), Nathan Earle (Saracens), Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby). Henry Taylor (Loughborough University), Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints), Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby), Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie), Maro Itoje (Saracens, captain), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Gus Jones (London Wasps), James Chisholm (Harlequins)
Replacements: Jack Walker (Leeds Carnegie), Alex Lundberg (London Wasps), Harry Rudkin (Leicester Tigers), Hayden Thompson-Stringer (Saracens), Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs), Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby), Sam Olver (Northampton Saints), Henry Purdy (Leicester Rugby)