England were crowned World Rugby U20 Champions for the third time in four years as they beat Ireland 45-21 in Manchester. Slightly overshadowed by the senior team’s successful tour of Australia, the U20s cruised to the final, with a number of stars being born.
They scored six tries at a packed AJ Bell Stadium, as flyhalf Harry Mallinder scored 23 points to finish as the tournament’s leading points scorer.
“It’s great to test yourself against the very best in the world, we’ve had that in this tournament and it’s exciting as a young lad to get this opportunity. It’s been an amazing journey and a huge squad effort,” Mallinder, the son of Northampton Saints coach Jim, said after raising the trophy.
Junior World Champions 2016. Thanks so much for the support ???? pic.twitter.com/J2uBlYYqOy
— Harry Mallinder (@HarryMal10) June 26, 2016
“I’ve gained some great experience during this tournament. It’s an amazing opportunity to play with your mates, who you have played with through age-grade rugby, and test yourself against the very best in the world.
“It’s been a great summer, what we’ve enjoyed most is the support and relationship we’ve had from the seniors and Saxons. We’ve heard from them throughout and that’s a huge boost because as players that’s where we want to be,” said Mallinder.
Irish coach Nigel Carolan said: “We felt we were beaten by the better side. They were very clinical, any chance they got they took and, at 21-0 down, it was always going to be an uphill battle.
“I’m extremely proud of the way these boys have conducted themselves over the last three and a half weeks, it’s been an immense tournament.”
In the battle for third place, Argentina beat South Africa for the second time in the tournament, this time with a convincing 49-19 scoreline.
Ireland’s number eight Max Deegan was named Player of the Tournament for his contribution.
The next World Rugby U20 Championship will take place in Georgia next year.