Last Saturday Wales had been sadly out of sorts in drawing with Ireland but yesterday was a completely different affair with backs and forwards producing one of the best displays by a Wales U18 side for some considerable time. Collectively and individually Wales, well led by prop Hugh Gustafson (Coleg Sir Gar) looked the more penetrating in attack, and more aggressive in defence and on this form will he hot favourites to beat the Scots in Friday's Sardis Road finale.
"We knew that this group had great potential" said Team Manager Terry Cobner. "And we were very disappointed by their lack of form against Ireland but today they showed skill levels and determination aplenty."
In a great team effort, there were also some memorable individual performances. Behind the scrum, Tregib CS full back Martyn Thomas grabbed two first half tries in a deadly display of fine finishing and centre Jon Davies (Dyffryn Taf) powered and frightened his way through midfield tacklers. Up front St Alban's CS hooker Neil Williams was a ball of energy and locks Josh Turnbull (Emlyn) and Adam Brown (Bassaleg CS) were outstandingly athletic in the line out and particularly in the loose.
England managed a penalty in the first half by fly half Marcus Jackson (Kirkham GS) but leaked two Thomas tries which came from incisive Welsh attacks. The first was started from long range by Gustafson and was well converted by Newport fly half Rhys Jones, the second from a thundering mid field gallop from lock Turnbull, the outstanding forward on the field.
Down 12-3 at the break, England rarely threatened Welsh dominance, their only second half score a second Jackson penalty which was soon cancelled out by one from replacement fly half Kristian Baller (Neath PT Coll.). And the tournament favourites were finally sunk when the alert Brown got his hands to the ball right under the nose of defenders, for Wales's third try seven minutes from time.
Tries M Thomas (2), A Brown
Con: R Jones
Pen: K Baller
Pens: M Jackson (2)
*Tries by Exiles full back Dan Lavery and captain, No. 8 Sean O'Brien (Tullow) helped Ireland beat Scotland 10-0. Ireland, also unbeaten, now face England at Pontypridd on Friday (KO 1.30 pm)
M Thomas (Tregib CS, Llandeilo & Scarlets); A Jenkins (Coleg Sir Gar, Pontyberem & Scarlets), G Maule (St Alban's CS, Newport & Dragons), J Davies (Dyffryn Taf CS, Narberth & Scarlets), M Johnstone (Cwmcarn HS, Pontypool Utd & Dragons) (rep J Norris (Bettws HS, Newport HSOB & Dragons) 52'); R Jones (Cwmcarn HS, Newport & Dragons) (rep K Baller (Neath PT Coll, Abercynon & Blues) h-t), R Lewis (Hereford Cath, Newport & Dragons) (rep D Allinson (Gwendraeth CS, Pontyberem & Scarlets) 65'); H Gustafson (Coleg Sir Gar, Pontyberem & Scarlets) (capt) (rep L Williams-Jones (Brynteg CS & Ospreys) 69'), N Williams (St Albans CS, Pontypool Utd & Dragons) (rep M Jones (Pencoed CS, Treorchy & Blues) 56'), J Corsi (Bassaleg CS, Newport & Dragons) (Rep K Jenkins (Tonypandy CS, Treorchy & Blues) 67'), A Brown (Bassaleg CS, Pontypool Utd & Dragons), J Turnbull (Emlyn, Newcastle Emlyn & Scarlets), L Phillips (Coleg Sir Gar, Narberth & Scarlets), L Evans (St Joseph's CS, Newport HSOB & Dragons), J Harris (Eltham College & Exiles) (rep B Flower (St Cenydd CS, Pontypool Utd & Dragons) 52')
A Tait (Barnard Castle & Newcastle); M Odejobi (Millfield & Harlequins) (rep N Canty (Whitgift & London Irish) 60'), O Dodge (Wyggeston & QE & Leicester) (rep J Turner (Brighton Coll & Harlequins) h-t ), G Hughes (Cheltenham Coll & Bath), H Smales (Sedbergh & Tynedale); M Jackson (Kirkham GS), J Simpson (St Benedict's & Wasps) (rep R Springall (Tonbridge & Bromley) 56'); M Mullan (Bromsgrove & Worcester) (rep C Beech (Oakham & Northampton) 24'), J Page (Kirkham GS & Sedgely Park), J Forster (Bolton HS & Sale), T Visser (Barnard Castle & Newcastle) (rep S Pitfield (Bedford School & Northampton) 60'), A Shaw (Lutterworth GS & Leicester), J Miller (Bath Coll & Bath), H Ellis (St Benedict's & Wasps) (rep S Eborall (Sedbergh) h-t), R Gill (Freman Coll & Saracens)
Referee: G English (Ireland)
Star Choice: Martyn Thomas (Tregib CS & Scarlets)