Malins kicks England U20s into World semi-finals
- Credit: Matt Impey / wiredphotos.co.uk
England U20s 20 Australia U20s 19
Sarancens Max Malins kept his nerve to kick a winning penalty with two minutes remaining as England sealed a dramatic victory over Australia in their final pool game of the World Rugby U20 Championship to advance through to the semi-finals of the tournament.
Australia went into half-time with a six-point lead following a converted Sione Tuipulotu try and eight points from the boot of Harrison Goddard.
Gabriel Ibitoye scored his fifth try of the tournament which Malins converted while Theo Brophy Clews also sent over a penalty for England.
Exeter’s Marcus Street bundled over and Malins’ conversion put England in front, however, Australia’s Harry Nucifora kicked a penalty for 19-17.
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A Malins penalty with two minutes left won the game and England will progress to face South Africa in the last four.
“You’ve just got to give the guys huge credit, they know how to win games,” said England forwards coach Louis Deacon.
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“We didn’t get some of the decisions we probably deserved, but they stuck with it and experience got us through. It reminded me a lot of those last few minutes against Ireland in the Six Nations, it was a similar sort of feeling, the boys were outstanding.”
Captain Zach Mercer added: “Full credit to Australia who pushed us all the way and I thought we were outstanding. We showed once again how hard we work for each other and I’d like to dedicate the victory to the guys that have had to leave the tournament because of injury.
“We will celebrate the victory and then focus on South Africa who are a strong side so I’m sure that will be another tough game.”
Saracens’ Jack Nay and Ben Earl also started in the England pack, while clubmate Ralph Adams-Hale was on the replacements bench.
England will face South Africa on Tuesday, June 13, with the match being broadcast live on ITV with a 3pm kick-off.
England U20: 15. Tom Parton (London Irish), 14. Paolo Odogwu (Sale Sharks), 13. Will Butler (Worcester Warriors), 12. Theo Brophy Clews (London Irish), 11. Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins), 10. Max Malins (Saracens), 9. Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby), 1. Ollie Dawe (Bristol Rugby), 2. Henry Walker (Gloucester Rugby), 3. Marcus Street (Exeter Chiefs), 4. Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs), 5. Jack Nay (Saracens), 6. Dino Lamb (Harlequins), 7. Ben Earl (Saracens), 8. Zach Mercer (captain, Bath Rugby). Replacements: 16. Joe Mullis (Gloucester Rugby), 17. Ralph Adams-Hale (Saracens), 18. Ciaran Knight (Gloucester Rugby), 19. Justin Clegg (Worcester Warriors), 20. Max Davies (Newcastle Falcons), 21. Josh Bayliss (Bath Rugby), 22. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints), 23. Darren Atkins (Bath Rugby).
Tries: Ibitoye, Street. Conversions: Malins (2). Penalties: Malins, Brophy Clews.