Mar 06, 2014
Saracens stars in U20s action
Three of Saracens academy stars have been involved with England U20s during the U20s Six Nations, here Henry Fraser takes a look at how they have fared so far.
After a tricky start to the Under 20 Six Nations England have bounced back big time. An opening day loss to France was soon put to bed with big wins against Scotland and Ireland.
This season includes three future stars of Saracens rugby. Second row Maro Itoje, centre Nick Tompkins and wing/full-back Nathan Earle. All three are already having a big influence for England and starting a successful defence of their title, with tough back rower Hayden Thompson-Stringer the latest Sarries starlet to have joined up with the squad.
One player who has featured heavily in England’s campaign so far is Nick Tompkins. The elusive outside centre has made four appearances for Saracens this season scored a try in England’s last outing against Ireland, and says he is enjoying his time away with the U20s national team.
"The excitement and every game feels a bit unreal, like a dream - without sounding too cliché” said Tomkins
"I feel like I'm going well at the moment but feel like I can learn more and perform even better to contribute to the team in the best way."
"It's really nice to see mates that you've grown up with doing so well and playing alongside them is always calming when you know them as well as I do.
"We have a lot of naturally talented players that can change a game but we also have real hard workers and good coaches that give us game plans that we trust and work, of course we are young but we are learning every game, which is a great sign” added the 18-year-old.
England Under 20s campaign so far;
Game 1: France 21 - 15 England.
England started the game very strong and even lead by a single point at half time after being a man down for ten minutes. But the game really burst into life in the second half.
After an exchange of penalties, that kept each other in the game, both teams saw yellow and it became 14-a-side rugby for ten minutes. France took full advantage of the extra room on the pitch and took a good lead with a try. It was until the replacement prop for France got red carded that England hit back with a try from Saracen Maro Itoje. A try at the death for France ensured their victory.
Game 2: Scotland 15 - 48 England.
After losing to France the previous week England showed their champion qualities with a big win over Scotland.
Scotland took an early lead with a penalty but immediately struck back with three tries before half time, including one from Nick Tompkins that gave England a commanding lead going into the break.
The second half saw England come out firing. A very early try was cancelled out by one from Scotland, but England hit another gear and three more tries capped a big win from an entertaining game. One of the tries scored came from man of the match Itoje who is impressive form for England.
Game 3: England 33 - 9 Ireland.
A retune to home soil for England was very welcomed to continue from the big win away in Scotland.
England's opening try came Itoje who's score to make it three in three games from the impressive lock. Again England led at the break for the third time in as many games.
A strong second half start is becoming a part of England's game. Two quick tries gave England a lead that Ireland couldn't claw back. One of the tries came from Tompkins who had his second try of the tournament. A fourth England try sealed the win, but more pleasing was that England didn't concede one.
It has been great start for England, despite an opening day loss. The Saracens trio have featured heavily and will need to continue that form if England are to defend their title.
England U20s face Wales U2s on Friday evening at Kingston Park, Newcastle. Kick-off is 19h45.