France ended the U18 festival with a nine-try display against England to complete an age grade Grand Slam
Italy v Scotland
Scotland, without a win in the Festival so far, took on Italy in their final game, but they went ahead after 12 minutes with some great handling and footwork ending with a try for Macrae. 5-0 to Scotland. The next 10 minutes were all Italy. Scotland defended superbly but could not clear their lines and eventually after 23 minutes Sara D’Andrea scored for Italy. With the conversion made Italy now led 7-5. But it was Scotland who ended the half on top, with Nicole Flynn getting the reward for Scotland’s pressure over the final minutes. Scotland lead 10-7 at halftime.
Eva Eschylle put Italy back on top seven minutes into the second half, 12-10, but the lead did not last long when in the 47th minute Flynn added her second try. 15-12 to Scotland.
It was now Scotland’s turn to absorb the pressure, which they did until the 62nd minute when scrumhalf Giogia Cuppari finally found a way to the line. Italy now led 19-15, which was the final score.
Wales v Ireland
Ireland (2 wins from the first 2 days) faces Wales (1) in the second game.
Wing Emily Foley got the scoreboard moving for Ireland getting on the end of a well-placed crossfield kick to race down the line. 7-0 to Ireland with an Abby Healy conversion. Foley added a second try in the 20th minute after a great run from Robin O’Connor, and Ireland led 12-0. Wales had a long period in the Irish half, but as against France and Italy, they were unable to convert possession and territory into points, and Ireland took their 12-0 lead into the break.
It was not until five minutes into the second half that Wales finally got their reward, a maul just getting over the line, Abi Meyrick being given the credit. Ireland still led, 12-5. Both teams had their opportunities, but it was not until the 60th minute before the next score, Alaw Pyrs taking advantage of a quick penalty to score under the posts. 12-12, with 8 minutes to go.
The game could have gone either way, but it was Ireland who scored next, Lyndsey Clarke getting on the end of an excellent Healey Crossfield kick to race away. Ireland were ahead 17-12 as the clock ran out, but Wales retained possession and would not give up, and another quickly taken penalty by Wales gave Pyrs her second try, levelling the scores before a Carys Hughes conversion won the game for Wales 19-17.
England v France
The two unbeaten teams met for the first U18 6 Nations title.
England scored first after six minutes from Amelia Williams to lead 7-0, but France were back on terms five minutes later, a incredible run by the tall wing Aelig Tregouet carving through the English defence to set up Kelly Arbey. 7-7.
France went ahead in the 18th minute, Alice Grandhomme taking advantage of a huge overlap. 12-7 to France. Then from the restart second row Zarasoa Macquart ran the ball back from her own 22 all the way to the English line for an astonishing try, and France now led 17-7. An English penalty reduce the lead to 17-10, but France immediately struck back, Macquart again bulldozing through to set up a move that Mariam Niakate finished. France now led 22-10, a lead they took into the break.
Suliana Sivi just failed to score the next French try at the start of the second half, but it was Garance Merle running in support who took the pass to run in and France were now 29-10 ahead. A quick penalty in the 46th minute and Paola Castello was cutting through the English defence for try number six, and a 36-10 lead.
France were now putting England under constant pressure and on the hour Tregouet deservedly found her way onto the scoresheet. 43-10 to France. Ines Zeze was next to score taking a neat pop pass and France reached 50-10. Finally Tregouet was again set up the final score for Noa Coudre. And France were winners, 57-10.
1. France - 5 wins (Point difference +162)
2. England - 4 wins (+1)
3. Ireland - 2 wins (+16)
4. Wales - 2 wins (-12)
5. Italy - 2 wins (-62)
6. Scotland - 0 wins (-105)