Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

England U20s retain Nations Cup

An impressive performance last night from England - comfortable 48-11 winners over a plucky USA side that has (from all accounts) improved significantly since 2009, but which never seriously looked like causing an upset. Indeed, the celebrations at the end when the USA finally crossed the England try line said it all - for the older Former Legends it reminded me a lot of the celebrations the first time we scored a try against Welwyn and, to be honest, the difference between the teams (and, come to that, the final score) is also very like the Letchworth v Welwyn games of around 2004 or 2005. There is also a small off-the-ball near the end of the first half which may well revive some more memories of these and later games in that series.

The USA were also unlucky to come up against an awesomely good England U20 team - it might have been different with last year's team (well, England would probably still have won, but not by anything like the same margin). Indeed, these young players have a few things to show the senior squad when it comes to handling and back line moves. Not entirely faultless, but sometimes pretty damn exciting to watch.

Despite the quality of their backs, the basic tactics adopted by the U20s are also very similar to those of their seniors - wear down the opposition with a forward-based game that makes full use of some unusually fast forwards. Indeed its interesting that the speed of forwards seems to be prioritised by England above strength and size. USA seemed to have the more powerful pack, but when England front row are at every breakdown well before the opposition it really does not matter how much more powerful they are.

The commentary team commented on how England use forwards in the line, and how confusing opposition teams found this - bit when you have a tight five that are as fast as centres its a great tactic, especially when the handle like centres too. What this all meant was that the USA rarely got beyond second phase, and that white shirts seemed to be everywhere (and it was great to see white again after the migraine inducing horrors of the sevens last weekend).

In fact, it clear that the current England 7s squad will - in the short term - probably have more to fear from this team, maybe, than the seniors. Good though the team in Budapest was, I think come 2016 there will be more Olympians from yesterday's team than from last week's. Anyway - watch the video below. Its well worth it. Earlier Canada beat South Africa  to take third - also worth a watch as it was way more competitive than the score (38-5) suggests.

Video streaming by Ustream

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