Rugby Union: England land Grand Slam

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The Independent Online
England U-18 Schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

Ireland U-18 Schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

ENGLAND atoned for the ignominy of last season's whitewash when they won their second senior schools Grand Slam in three years after defeating Ireland at Durham last night, writes Paul Stephens.

Having beaten Wales and Scotland - they do not play France - Ireland were seeking a second successive Triple Crown, but their hopes were undermined by an England front five who denied the Irish any decent possession at the line-out or precious little more in the loose.

By dint of some ferocious tackling, Ireland made England work extremely hard for victory. England were struggling at 3-3 as half-time approached, when the flanker Neil Spence made the most of some indecision near the Irish line to score a try.

England then found their fluency and the forwards were able to exploit their considerable height and weight advantage to provide quality ball for the backs.

In the space of 10 minutes, Andrew Blyth, the game's outstanding player, scored the same number of points to effectively put the result beyond doubt. England's final try came three minutes later from Matthew Jones.

England: Tries Spence, Blyth, Jones; Conversion Blyth; Penalty Blyth; Drop goal Jones. Ireland: Try Doggett; Penalty Governey.

ENGLAND: C Catling (Whitgift); D Craig (Sherborne), F Waters (Harrow), A Blyth (Rugby), M Wood (Sedbergh); M Jones (Millfield), P Harvey (Durham); S Beaufoy (Wyggeston QE Coll), P Greening (capt, Gloucester Coll), M Fitzgerald (Ampleforth Coll), B Kay (Merchant Taylors', Crosby), C Murphy (Hymers Coll), E Pearce (Clifton), N Spence (Hymers Coll), R Winters (Haywards Heath Coll).

IRELAND: J Lowe (Ballyclare HS); S Doggett (St Mary's Coll), J Lacy (Clongowes Wood Coll), M Smyth (Terenure Coll), D Hickie (St Mary's Coll); R Governey (Clongowes Wood Coll), S Bell (Friends, Lisburn); A McSweeney (CBC Cork), R Sands (Royal, Dungannon), J Spence (Royal, Dungannon). R Sheehan (Garbally Coll), J Fitzgerald (PBC, Cork), D Lane (PBC, Cork), P Lynch (capt, Clongowes Wood Coll), E Miller (Wesley Coll).

Referee: L Crerar (Scotland).

The Welsh women's team came back from an 8-6 half-time deficit to defeat Kazakhstan 29-8 in the world championship in Edinburgh thanks to two tries by the lock Kate Eaves and some consistent kicking from the fly-half Amanda Bennett. Victory gave Wales a quarter-final tie against either England or Scotland at Melrose on Sunday.