5th June 2005, 18:00
2005 Under 19 England 16 Wales 16
England U-19 and Wales U-19 fought out a superb 16-16 draw...
England U-19 and Wales U-19 fought out a superb 16-16 draw in front of a huge crowd at Chosen Hill, Gloucester on Sunday. With the final play of the game, England second row Martin Ryan was held up over the Welsh line by some desperate defenders unable to ground the ball for what would have been the match-winning score.
A defeat would have been harsh on the Welsh who defended superbly and attacked with pace and width but England will be rueing their indiscipline, which lost them several good scoring opportunities and their lack of composure when they had the try-line in sight.
The opening stages of the match were conducted to the tune of the referee's whistle as both sides sought to assert their physical superiority and it was no surprise that the early scoring chances came from penalties. Gareth Pugh struck a post with his first shot at goal after three minutes following an English high tackle before further infringements allowed the Welsh to advance up the field and pressure the England line.
This pressure resulted in a try from close range for Marcus David, which went unconverted.
With play sweeping from end to end it took a barnstorming angled run from Rick Jones to level the scores after 22 minutes, Craig Wilson striking the woodwork with his attempted conversion.
After a string of penalties, both sides were lectured by the referee and Pugh drifted a kick at goal wide. From the 20-metre drop out, Wilson hammered the ball down field and found touch in the Welsh 10-metre line. Dale Bloomfield picked up from the back of the scrum and raced through a huge gap to the line. Wilson again missed the conversion but the score invigorated England and they played their best football of the game, but lacked a killer punch that would put points on the board.
Wales made them pay just before the interval as Jason Kenneally scored in the corner after England were penalised for dissent.
Four minutes into the second period, England took the lead again. Wilson's kick and chase forced a goal-line drop out and from the extra set of six, Martin Ryan blasted over by the posts. Wilson converted to give England a 14-8 lead.
The Welsh thought they had tied the scores when James Davies weaved his way to the posts but lost the ball in trying to score. However, England's reprieve didn't last long as Barrie Phillips ran from the base of a scrum through a big gap to score. Neil Gadd converted and added a simple penalty to give the Welsh a 16-14 lead.
England laid siege to the Welsh line for almost the entire last ten minutes but a combination of poor discipline and wrong options ensured that their only reward was a Wilson penalty with four minutes to go.
They pressed from the restart but were unable to set up for a clinching drop goal and Wales held on for the draw they deserved.
England U-19: Lee Forsyth, Scott Childs, Ian Wilkinson, Sam Gee, Dane English, Scott Low, Craig Wilson, Luke Sutton, James Whaley, Sam Thompson (Capt), Martin Ryan, Sam Wynn, Dale Bloomfield. Subs: Paul Day, Rick Jones, Matt Barber, Adam Boughton.
Tries: Rick Jones (22min), Dale Bloomfield (29), Martin Ryan (43).
Goals: Craig Wilson 2 from 4.
Wales U-19: Neil Gadd, Adam Dawe, Lee Williams, Daniel Phillips, Jason Kenneally, Gareth Pugh, Scott O'Brien, Gareth Moore (Capt.), Marcus David, Anthony Rodgers, Gareth Owen, Anthony Watts, Barrie Phillips. Subs: Dan Falvey, Billy Lavis, James Davies, Dan Blethyew.
Tries: Marcus David (9 min), Jason Kenneally (37), Barrie Phillips (58).
Goals: Neil Gadd 2 from 2, Gareth Pugh 0 from 3
Referee: Greg Banks (London)