Scott and Owen impress in England Under-20s win

Warriors pair James Scott and Kai Owen helped England Under-20s to limber up for the World Rugby Under-20s Championship in Argentina in June with a 35–8 over their South Africa counterparts at Coventry’s Butts Park Arena on Friday.

Lock Scott started and won his 17th Under-20s cap while loosehead prop Owen won his fifth when he came on as a replacement in the second half.

Scott produced a commanding display in the lineout, safe on England’s throw and disruptive on South Africa’s, while Owen increased the Junior Springboks’ discomfort in the scrums and carried well in open play.

Owen also impressed in defence and stripped South Africa in a maul which checked their most threatening attack of the second half.

The match was England’s last before the Junior World Cup and gave them a useful workout six weeks after they completed their Six Nations campaign.

England demonstrated ambition from an early stage with left wing Jake Morris (Gloucester) twice breaking from deep.

Another thrust from Morris set up the opening try for full-back Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons) which Hodge improved via the right goalpost.

South Africa reduced the deficit when lock Emile van Heerden went over from close range for an unconverted try and then went ahead with a penalty from scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse five minutes later.

But England reasserted themselves when loosehead prop Olly Adkins (Gloucester) picked up a loose ball and strolled over for a try which Hodge improved.

England had to wait more than half-an-hour for their third try and they worked hard for it. After several near-misses they created space for Sale centre Connor Doherty who nipped in and Hodge added the extras.

England’s forward dominance produced a close range try for Saracens lock Joel Kpoku and a well-taken last minute effort from Izaiha Moore-Ainono (London Irish) with Hodge maintaining his 100 per cent kicking record.