Cornwall's Jack Nowell scores try as England U20s clinch Six Nations title hat-trick
Cornwall's Jack Nowell completed a fantastic personal week by scoring a try as England Under 20 were crowned Six Nations champions for an unprecedented third time in a row after an impressive 28-15 win over Wales at Eirias Park on Friday evening.
The 19-year-old wing from Newlyn, who is dual registered witth the Cornish Pirates and Exeter Chiefs, struck early on in the game which was on a knife edge for most of the contest.
On Wednesday, Nowell had been named LV= Breakthrough Player of the Year.
Wales fly half Sam Davies was a constant threat with the boot, but two tries from flanker Harry Wells and one from wing Nowell gave England the win, as fly half Henry Slade added 13 points with the boot. Luke Cowan-Dickie, another Cornish Pirates player, was also in the England team.
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Wales took the game to England in the opening ten minutes and were rewarded with the first points, Davies kicking over a penalty to put the hosts 3-0 up. But England hit straight back and a nice break from scrum half Callum Braley eventually freed up Nowell to touch down in the corner.
With 17 minutes gone Wales regained the lead, Davies' second penalty made it 6-5 before Slade had the chance to put England back into the lead, but saw his kick sail wide. Davies then slotted his third successful kick of the night with 25 gone to make it 9-5.
Slade brought England to within a point after 34 minutes, his first successful kick of the night, a penalty from just inside his own half. And as the half drew to a close England opted for touch instead of posts, a decision justified as back row Wells touched down for his first England try, converted by Slade. Wales were also reduced to 14 men with No. 8 Ieuan Jones sent to the sinbin for repeat offences.
The hosts started the second period as they had the first, putting England under pressure, pressure that was eventually rewarded as Davies stroked over his fourth penalty but Slade hit straight back for England to make the score 18-12 with 54 played.
With the gap at six, both sides were giving it a real go, a Slade drop goal increased the gap to nine but Davies returned fire with his fifth penalty of the night to make it 21-15.
Wales pushed on knowing a converted try would win them the Championship, but it was England who had the final say. Slade again opting for touch with points on offer, but a strong driving maul was touched down by Wells for his second to give England the 28-15 win.
Departing Head Coach Rob Hunter said: "It's a massive achievement and the guys deserve all the credit – they're a hard working group and this trophy is their reward for the work that they have put in. Wales gave it a real go and full credit to them, we never felt comfortable."
Captain Jack Clifford added: "I'm so happy for all of the boys and all of the management, everyone works so hard and to end up with this trophy as captain is a dream come true. Massive credit to the Welsh though, at no point did we feel like the game was won until the final whistle blew."