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Your News Stanlake proud of England U16
21
APR

ENGLAND Under-16s head coach Phil Stanlake expressed his pride at the performance of his players after they overcame a strong Italy Under 17s side 16-6 in sweltering conditions at Macclesfield today.

It was the first taste of international rugby for the England side against bigger and older opponents but 16 points from fly-half David Buck (Sherborne School, Bath Academy and Dorset & Wiltshire) helped them get off to a winning start.

It was a memorable day all round for the England players after an emotional shirt presentation ceremony on the morning of the match at the teams Cheshire hotel attended by more than 120 family members and friends.

I am very proud. The boys fought from the first minute to the last, Stanlake said. We imposed ourselves in the first 20 minutes with a lot of continuity and then we started to force the issue a bit, unnecessarily really because we were retaining possession quite well.

The Italians were always in it because of the weight they had coming through in the pack. But every single player on the pitch threw themselves into the contact and coped manfully with the weight that was being thrown at them.

The heat was one factor, the other factor is that it was their first international. They have never experienced anything like it in terms of intensity and the pace it is played at. All those factors make it a very challenging day for them.

I take my hat off to them. They have acquitted themselves very well and they have to use that experience to take into the game against Wales at Fylde on Sunday.

We need to look after the ball a bit better. Wales are a side who if you turn the ball over will exploit that. They are good on counter-attack and on exploiting opportunities on turn over ball so we have to make sure we retain possession and dont give it away.

But its a learning experience. They will learn a lot from this game and hopefully what they learn they will take into the next game and it will make them better players.

Openside flanker Joshua Poole (Cokethorpe School, London Wasps Academy and Oxfordshire) is doubtful for the Wales match after he suffered a back injury after six minutes of the Italy victory.

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