Fin Smith helps England U20s defeat France

Fin Smith helped England U20s secure a bonus-point victory over France in the U20 Six Nations Summer Series in Verona.

Smith, who has enjoyed a stellar campaign at Sixways, kicked a penalty and two conversions as the next generation of England stars held on to a crucial 29-20 triumph.

The men in blue had a try disallowed on 14 minutes, as scrum half Jauneau was judged to have been offside from the chip-and-chase of full-back Auriac, and sensing frustration in the French after their prop Thomas Moukoro was shown a yellow card, England began to build momentum in the match.

The advantage of the extra man soon told as Ewan Richards scored two tries in five minutes – both in the same corner. In claiming the first, the second-row extended his arms over the whitewash as he was being guided into touch before dotting down, whilst the second was a bulldozing carry off the back of a George Hendy break, and successive carries into the French 22. Smith converted one to hand Alan Dickens’ side a 12-0 lead.

However, with the French restored to 15 men, Auriac bagged an easy three-pointer on the half hour mark, before hooker Montgaillard’s converted try cut the deficit to two points at the break.

England were reduced to 14 men as Hendy was shown a yellow for a high tackle, and shortly after they were down to 13 when replacement Tom Carr-Smith was sin binned for deliberately palming the ball out of play on the try line. France were awarded a penalty try to make it 22-20.

Two men down with 17 minutes to play, England mustered heroic energy to march their way into the French 22 where another flurry of cards followed. First, Boudou of Les Bleues saw yellow, then replacement Andrew Turner of England was shown a red for a high tackle.

Jed Walsh eased any nerves with a superb solo try with eight minutes remaining to seal the try bonus point, which he also converted to restore a nine-point lead, and England held on to record a famous victory in Verona.