An impressive display of attacking rugby saw England Under 16 score seven tries in their 41-22 victory over Wales at Bridgwater & Albion Rugby Football Club.

A brace from scrum-half Raphael Quirke and further tries from Lennox Anyanwu and James Botterill gave England a deserved 22-10 lead at half-time.

Early second-half tries from Jack Reid and Chidera Obonna extended England’s lead before Alfie Barbeary capped off a fine performance to score late in the game as the home side ran out comfortable winners.

England dominate possession
In wet conditions, it was the visitors who opened the scoring thanks to a smart turnover and try from outside centre Bradley Roderick in the second minute.

However, it did not take long for England to hit back – a powerful run from Wasps hooker Alfie Barbeary was brilliantly finished off by Anyanwu to quickly reduce the deficit to two points.

England’s desire to play attacking, free-flowing rugby was evident throughout and they deservedly took the lead just four minutes later with Quirke going over in the corner.

Sale Sharks’ Quirke impressed throughout so it was no surprise that he was heavily involved in England’s third try of the game. His smart tap and go from inside his own half gave wing Botterill the opportunity to show his pace and score in the corner.

England dominated possession in the first half and when Quirke grabbed his second try of the game, the home side took a deserved lead at the break.

Changes at half-time
Despite making changes at half-time, England continued to dominate their opposition and made it count with two early tries in the second half.

Harlequins back-row Jack Reid broke the Welsh defence to go over under the posts before substitute Chidera Obonna showed great pace on the left wing to dive over for their sixth try of the game.

Wales did however fight their way back into the match with two tries of their own to leave the score 34-22 mid-way through the second period.

But it was fitting that England left their best till last as Barbeary started and finished a brilliant team move to dive over late in the game to leave the score 41-22 at the final whistle.

‘Two excellent sides’
England Under 16 Head Coach Steve Shortland praised his side for their performance in what he described as difficult conditions.

“There were two excellent sides on show today,” he said.

“Both teams had their moments and I thought we scored some fantastic tries in tricky conditions. It was an incredibly exciting game of rugby, I thought we dominated the first half but Wales came back strong in the second and that was a big challenge for us.”

He added: “In a short period of time together as a group they have gelled very well – I wouldn’t single anybody out but I’m very proud of the performance today.”

England U16:

15. Louis Lynagh (Harlequins, Hampton School), 14. Joe Carpenter (Yorkshire Carnegie, Lawnswood School), 13. Lennox Anyanwu (Harlequins, Christ’s Hospital), 12. Josh Hallett (Saracens New Hall School, 11. James Botterill (Harlequins, Fullbrook School), 10. Will Haydon-Wood (Newcastle Falcons Sedbergh School), 9. Raphael Quirke (Sale Sharks St Ambrose College), 1. James Whitcombe (Leicester Tigers, Woodhouse Grove), 2. Alfie Barbeary (Wasps, Bloxham School), 3. Sam Riley (Harlequins, St George’s Weybridge), 4. George Martin (Leicester Tigers, Rawlins Academy), 5. Alfred Mawdsley (Wasps, Aylesbury Grammar), 6.   (Harlequins, Wellington College), 7. Fin Rossiter (London Irish, Pangbourne College), 8. Harry Hill (Newcastle Falcons Sedbergh School).

Replacements:

16. Lewis Holsey (Worcester, Archbishop Ilsley CS), 17. Aristot Benz-Salomon (Harlequins, Whitgift School), 18. Corry Payne (Worcester Warriors,  KES Five Ways), 19. Sam Davies (Harlequins, Cardinal Vaughan), 20. Harry Dugmore (Harlequins, Tomlinscote School), 21. Sam Clough (London Irish, Edgbarrow School), 22. Will Sinfield (London Irish, Wellington College), 23. Chidera Obonna (Newcastle Falcons, RGS Newcastle).