Tom West helps England make winning start to World Rugby U20 Championships
- Credit: PA
England got their World Rugby Under-20 Championship campaign off to a winning start last night with a 48-10 victory over Italy at the Manchester City Academy Stadium.
Martin Haag's side, which included former Diss RFC junior Tom West in the starting XV, led 17-3 at the break with tries from George Nott and Sam Aspland-Robinson as well a conversion each for Theo Brophy Clews and Harry Mallinder, while the Northampton Saints centre also sent over a penalty.
Italy's points came from a long-range drop goal through the boot of Leonardo Mantelli in the first-half, with England dominating the second period.
A Mallinder penalty as well as tries for Joe Marchant, a penalty try, Jack Singleton, Zach Mercer – their fifth different scorer of the game – gave them an unassailable lead.
Mallinder also sent over two second-half conversions as did Max Malins and while Italy had the final say of the game with a late converted try through Lorenzo Robin Masselli's the match belonged to England.
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It was a landmark day for six of the 23-man squad as Brophy Clews, Mallinder, Darren Atkins, Billy Walker, Malins and Johnny Williams as they all made their U20 debuts for England in what was also Haag's first game in charge of the side.
West, a prop in the Wasps academy, started at loosehead to win his seventh U20 cap and played the opening 57 minutes before being replaced by Lewis Boyce.
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England wore black armbands in memory of former U20 and Harlequins prop Seb Adeniran-Olule who died in a road-traffic collision in May.
Elsewhere in England's group, Scotland defeated Australia 15-10 at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Haag's side next face Scotland at the Manchester City Academy Stadium on Saturday, with former Wymondham RFC junior Will Evans hoping to be involved after missing out on the first match-day squad.
Other home nations results saw Ireland hold on to narrowly defeat Wales 26-25.