England U/20 run riot over Cambridge

England’s Under 20 side warmed up for the U20 Six Nations by running in nine tries in a 61-7 win against Cambridge University last night.

Wing Sam Smith (Harlequins) – the son of former England international Simon Smith – finished with a hat-trick of tries with centres Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) and Tom Catterick (Newcastle Falcons) both scoring twice.

Replacement lock Charlie Matthews (Harlequins) and hooker Arthur Ellis (London Wasps) also touched down and fly half Jake Sharp (Saracens) kicked eight of his nine conversion attempts.

The Light Blues had opened the scoring at Grange Road through wing Dave Riley with Jamie Hood converting.

England were without several players capped last season including 2009 Junior World Championship finalists James Gaskell (Sale Sharks), Rory Clegg (Harlequins) and Tom Homer (London Irish).

So the evening was a particularly encouraging one for head coach Mark Mapletoft as he prepares the side for the tournament opener against Wales at Gloucester on February 5 (7.45pm).

“We know strength in depth is the key to being competitive in the Six Nations and in the Junior World Championship,” said Mapletoft.

“You’re always a bit apprehensive and I didn’t know how we’d go but I’m really pleased with the performance.

“Defensively after we’d conceded an early score we looked composed when we could have been rattled and nine tries was a good return.

“We still lack a bit of a cutting edge, making breaks and the last pass going to ground, but that’s all part of the learning process and the development of these young athletes.

“Smithy took his chances well but it’s hard to pick out any one individual. All 25 guys involved got on and all 25 put their hands up for a place in the first game against Wales.”

England scorers: Tries: Smith 3, May 2, Catterick 2, Matthews, Ellis. Conversions: Sharp 8.

England U20: Jonathan Joseph (London Irish); Will Hurrell (Leicester Tigers), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Catterick (Newcastle Falcons), Sam Smith (Harlequins); Jake Sharp (Saracens), Sam Harrison (Leicester Tigers); Joe Marler (Harlequins), Jamie George (Saracens), Shaun Knight (Gloucester Rugby), Calum Green (Leicester Tigers), Danny Wright (Gloucester Rugby), Will Welch (Newcastle Falcons), Jacob Rowan (Leeds Carnegie), Alex Gray (Newcastle Falcons).

Replacements (all used): Arthur Ellis (London Wasps), Lee Imiolek (Sale Sharks), Mako Vunipola (Bristol Rugby), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins), Peter Elder (London Wasps), Jackson Wray (Saracens), Sam Stuart (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Christian Wade (London Wasps).

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