Wales went into the final pool game of the U20 Nations Cup at Appleby College in Oakville, Toronto, with nothing to lose and England came out full of confidence as indicated by the team they selected in leaving key players on the bench.
England were in possession and had territorial dominance for the first 20 minutes of the match but Wales maintained their defensive pattern throughout and put huge amounts of pressure on the English denying them of any score whilst in their half. Crunching tackles coming from the mid field of Bethan Preece and Levi Hallett ensured England was unable to create any attacking momentum.
Excellent scavenging work at the contact area by back row Lisa Newton and first cap Llandaff North's Carys Thomas resulted in turnovers at crucial times and some excellent territorial kicking by Rachel Green and Elinor Snowshill and Wales managed to maintain pressure and territory with them holding onto a score line of 0-0 at half time.
Wales's best opportunity to score came from some great footwork by centre Bethan Preece and linking work by Levi Hallett put Paris Nicholas in space but unfortunately the ball was dropped. This gave Wales huge confidence going into the second half. However, England made four substitutions.
The second half started with Wales coming out firing forcing England to make errors and this resulted in a 30 metre penalty which Green duly converted. This appeared to give England the wake-up call they needed having never been behind in a match before. A decision by fullback Mared Evans not to call the mark from an England kick was punished by opposite fullback Emily Scarrett who outstripped the Welsh cover defence to score and convert her own try.
England's player of the game, left winger Georgina Crabb, who had been defensively excellent throughout the game, showed great pace and running lines to score in the 71st minute which was again converted by Scarrett to take the score to 14-3. Wales showed great character to regain territory and maintain pressure for the final minutes of the game, with the Welsh pack dominating the scrum looking to score a much deserved try, but the English defence held out.
Considering the last encounter between these two sides saw England defeat Wales in excess of 40 points, this was a much improved performance from a young Welsh side.
Head Coach Wilson was full of praise for her team's improved performance, but stated "as a coaching team we are disappointed not to have won the game as we put ourselves in positions to do so. We need to develop the ability in these players to finish the opportunities they create. If they can turn pressure into points, we will be a force to be reckoned with in the future."
England Women U20: Emily Scarratt; Kimberley Davy, Rose Fong, Sarah Graham, Georgina Crabb; April Brown, Rachel Fraser; Laura Keates, Vicky Fleetwood, Libby Peak, Charlotte Male, Rowena Burnfield, Brigid Reeves, Isabelle Noel-Smith, Marlie Packer
Replacements: Davinia Monteiro, Vicki Cornborough, Juliet Short, Hanah Fielo, Sarah Guest, Claire Garner, Natasha Hunt
Wales Women U20: Mared Evans; Rachel Green, Levi Hallett, Bethan Preece, Paris Nicholas; Elinor Snowsill, Hannah Lerwill; Becky Newton, Amy Lawrence, Lowri Harries, Megan Snape, Carys John (Capt), Carys Thomas, Lisa Newton, Vicky Owens
Replacements: Issy Jones, Angharad Kent-McCormack, Lorna Compton, Natalie Williams, Yasmin Leung, Katie Bevan, Sophie Francis