Saracens’ Crossdale helps England U20s down Samoa

England players celebrate after winning the Under-20s Six Nations (pic Liam McBurney/PA)

England players celebrate after winning the Under-20s Six Nations (pic Liam McBurney/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Debutant scores two tries in World Championships opener

Two scores on debut for Saracens’ Ali Crossdale helped England to a 12-try win against Samoa in the opening round of the World Rugby Under-20 Championships.

The reigning world champions secured the bonus-point in emphatic style as they raced to a 74-17 win in the first ever meeting between the two sides in Georgia.

Crossdale, a graduate of Saracens’ academy, touched down in the opening minutes of the game, as England attacked from the off.

The 19-year-old, making his first start at Under-20 level was joined by Saracens academy team-mates Dominic Morris and Max Malins in the starting fifteen.

His second try of the day came just minutes after the break, with the winger gathering a kick upfield and crossing for England’s ninth of the game.

However, the resulting try saw him limping off the field injured.

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Fly-half Malins, who was promoted to the starting line-up following an injury to Theo Brophy-Clews before kick-off, racked up 13 points on the way to a 43-3 half-time lead.

A try and four successful conversions for Malins meant Wasps’ Jacob Umaga took over the reins for the second half.

England attacked at every opportunity and Morris himself was no stranger to the try line. The young centre also bagged two tries in a game where Samoa offered very little resistance.

There will be much to work on, however, with sterner tests awaiting against Wales and Australia.

Unforced errors began to creep in to England’s game and despite rolling through the gears, a number of missed opportunities could have resulted in a far greater scoreline.

Yet, the manner in which they dismantled Samoa would have opened the eyes of England’s rivals and challengers for the title.

For the most part, it will have been hugely encouraging for England’s coaches – notably Saracens’ Ian Vass drafted in prior to the tournament starting – that the team started with such intent.

With England’s next fixture against Wales on Sunday, the likely return of Ben Earl, Ralph Adams-Hale and Jack Nay will provide the current title holders with even greater strength in depth to make it two from two.

Confidence will be high in the squad and a win against their fellow Six Nations opponents would set up the prospect of a winner-takes-all showdown against Australia for a spot in the semi-finals.