Academy players Jack Wafer and Ollie Fox represented England U17 in their 19-17 win against France this weekend and Charlie Capps featured in the U19s 26-all draw.

National academy development manager John Fletcher declared himself happy after England’s U17 and U19 sides put in two strong performances against France.

England Academies U17 beat France 19-17, while the U19’s drew 26-26.

And Fletcher was pleased with how the two sides played in Newcastle on Saturday,
“The last two or three days have gone really well and we’ve produced two good performances against two really strong French teams,” said Fletcher.

England Academies U17 led 14-0 at the break with tries from Oli Morris and Max Coyle as well as two Tom Hardwick conversions.

France came roaring back with a penalty and two converted tries but Elliott Obatoyinbo’s last-minute try sealed a 19-17 victory against an impressive France side.

"We should have been further ahead in the first half, we created some opportunities but the French came out strong for the second half and it took us time to get into the game," added Fletcher.

"They built a lead and I think we showed a lot of resilience at the end to score a really good try."
In analysing the game, Fletcher praised the side’s creativity as well as their resilience.

“It was a good game, our first half performance deserved more and to come back with not long on the clock is a good sign of their resilience and decision making at the end of games,” he said.

“We encourage them to explore the game, we have different combinations and sometimes things don’t go so well. One of their tries came from us trying to run the ball out from our line.

"They are encouraged to be creative so overall we are pleased with the level of performance. I’m really excited about them moving forward.”

France Under 19’s struck early with a converted try before England crossed through Harry Randall and Gabriel Ibitoye with two Max Malins penalties as well as a conversion giving them an 18-7 half-time lead.

A Malins penalty stretched the advantage before France crossed for a second time.

Sam Aspland-Robinson scored England Academies U19's third try before two unanswered French tries, which were both converted brought the scores level at 26-26.

 “I was pleased with the overall performance,” said Fletcher.

“France have a dominant scrum which gave them a good platform but I thought our general ball movement was stronger than France. We deserved our lead, scored some good tries and then France snuck one at the end.

“In hindsight we could have made some different decisions with the ball in the final five or 10 minutes.

“Some of our decision making towards the end could have been slightly different. Overall it was a really good experience for us.

“There was lots of creativity and awareness out there. I thought our ball movement and decision making with the ball was strong.”