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Home > News > Match reaction to England U18 Clubs and Schools sensational comeback
Your News Match reaction to England U18 Clubs and Schools sensational comeback

reland Under 18 Clubs 23 - 23 England Under 18 Clubs and Schools

(Asbourne RFC, Dublin, April 10)

Paul Mullan, England Under 18 Clubs and Schools Head Coach

“The boys showed outstanding character to come back in the second half. It sums up the spirit and commitment they have shown throughout the time we have had together as a squad.

“We didn’t actually play badly in the first half, it was just the penalties that killed us and I put that largely down to over exuberance. At half time we had four key messages: keep the ball, no penalties, better support at the contact and up the defensive work rate and the boys did exactly that in the second half.

“Having that very physical warm up game against Worcester Warriors Academy Under 19s last week certainly helped us. Over the two matches the boys have really developed as players and as a team. All 22 played and I am very proud of all of them.”

Freddie Gabbitass, Captain (Bath Rugby, Millfield School, Somerset)

“The boys are all delighted, but it is frustrating because we know we had chances to win the game. On another day, it could have been our day, but it was a fantastic effort in the second half.

“The coaches gave good advice at half time and the substitutions increased the intensity, we knew the game was still on and believed in ourselves. It has been a fantastic day and I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.”

Jamie-John Kilmartin, Try scorer (Bath Rugby, Millfield School, Somerset)

“A try for England means everything, just absolutely everything, first international with a try; I just loved it, what a day! The first half was frustrating, we were really fired up and that obviously got to us a bit but we calmed down in the second half.

“We showed real courage to come back at them. The squad is made up of a brilliant group of guys and it has been amazing to play alongside them. If we hadn’t had such team spirit, we would never have got back into the game. We all got behind each other and that is the mark of a top team for you.”

Jake Wilson, Try scorer (London Wasps, Cokethorpe School, Oxon)

“It feels pretty special to score a try for England, it is quite an emotional experience. To get the draw after we were 17-0 down is amazing; it almost feels like a win which is even more satisfying. We played so well in the second half, we were driving the Irish back all the time and they were unable to provide answers to the game we were taking to them.

“I thought I’d over timed my run for the try but Tom Crozier played the ball straight into my hands, I saw the try line and just went for it. It really doesn’t matter that I came on in the second half; I’ve got that try, what feels like a win, the shirt and knowing that I’ve played for my country that is just amazing all round!”

Tom Harty, Winger (Cobham RFC, Epsom College, Surrey)

“It was a difficult first half for the backs; we barely got any ball out wide even though we could see that was where the space was because the Irish were defending tightly down the central channel. After speaking to the coaches at half time, we knew in our hearts and in our minds that we had it in us and just needed to step up and be on the front foot from the kick off.

“We got ourselves into a position where we literally had to take every chance on offer. As backs we were so keen to get the ball, to show what we could do. The limited opportunities in the first half meant we were even hungrier for the ball in the second. Straight after the game the draw felt like a win but at the end of the day sadly it is a draw. We really gave it our all though and it is definitely the most intense and the closest game I’ve ever played in.”

Hugo Govett, Flanker (Leeds Grammar School, Yorkshire)

“As a forward it was a tough match, Ireland dominated the contact and possession in the first half. We knew we were working hard but just not getting the ball which was frustrating. We controlled the scrum and our line outs were spot on, it was the penalties we were really struggling with. The referee was strict but that is to be expected at this level and it was up to us to have the discipline but we failed and committed those penalties, we were just too keen.

“We came out in the second half and were more focused and concentrated on what we had to do. We kept the ball in hand and gave ourselves a better chance by pushing over the gain line with good driving runs that showed the true strength of the forwards.”

Dave Reed, England Under 18 Clubs and Schools Forwards Coach

“The forwards were incredible today, to play the way they did and to come back from that score at half time is superb. Every single one of them deserved to wear that England shirt. It really was a top class second half victory.”

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