Scotland Under-18s came from behind to beat England on a thrilling first day of the Under-18s Six Nations Festival in Wales.
On the artificial surface at Ystrad Mynach, the Scots clinched a 32-27 victory thanks to a stunning try by Jack Blain, while France saw off Wales 22-14 before Ireland snatched a 20-17 success against Italy.
BLAIN AT THE DOUBLE
In the first game of the day, Blain ran in two second-half tries to inspire Scotland’s next generation of rugby stars to follow in the footsteps of their senior counterparts by beating England. The Stewarts Melville College wing rounded off a sensational Scottish comeback as he danced past five defenders to score his side’s fifth try.
Centre Robbie McCallum also picked up one of the Scottish tries and there was also a double for flying wing Femi Sofolarin. Fly-half Dan Lancaster, son of former England coach Stuart, slotted two conversions and a penalty.
The English tries came from Wasps hooker Alfie Barbeary, Northampton Saints wing Ollie Sleightholme and Gloucester full-back Reece Dunn in the first half before Gloucester centre Jack Reeves ran in a second half double but it was not enough.
FRENCH POWER TELLS
In the second match France started quickly against Wales, full-back Rémi Brosset slotting an early penalty before prop Eli Eglaine went over from close range.
Second row Florent Vanverbeghe got their second, converted by Brosset and at 17-0, France looked set to run away with.
However Wales fought back with a tries from Osian Knott and Aneurin Owen to pull back to within three points heading into the last ten minutes.
But after Ioan Davies had been sent to the sin-bin, France took advantage of their extra man with standout performer Jordan Joseph, the No.8, getting the third try.
IRELAND STRIKE LATE
Italy scored one of the tries of the day against Ireland after Nathan Doak’s early penalty, with Albert Einstein Batista – who played in the Under-20s Six Nations – getting it. He finished after scrum-half Ratko Jelic had broken through and found half-back partner Paolo Garbisi whose wide pass found his winger.
Ireland responded through lock Tom Ahern and winger Andrew Smith to lead 17-5 at the break with Doak on song from the kicking tee.
However, Italy fought back with two tries in as many minutes from centres Michael Mba and Matteo Moscardi to move level with 15 minutes remaining.
Doak missed a couple of chances to put Ireland back in front, but held his nerve with a minute to go when he slotted the decisive penalty.
The competition continues on Wednesday with Italy facing England before Wales entertain Ireland and finally Scotland play France.