Chiefs youngsters savour win
England Under-20s returned to winning ways as they produced an impressive five-try show to sink France at Worcester's Sixways Stadium in their latest Six Nations encounter.
Undone last time out in Ireland, Rob Hunter's side dominated this latest match with skipper and No.8 Jack Clifford leading the way with a hat-trick of tries for the home side, who again started with five players from the Exeter Chiefs.
A penalty try, one from wing Henry Purdy, plus 15 points from Chiefs fly-half Henry Slade’s boot ensured the defending champions collected their second win of the tournament.
After both sides had missed two early penalties, Slade - who was joined in the England side by club-mates Jack Arnott, Joel Conlon, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Hill - made no mistake with his third kick to make it 3-0 after 32 minutes, but France his straight back through scrum-half Baptiste Serin to level the scores.
As half-time approached, England regained the lead as Slade (pictured) landed his second penalty of the afternoon to make it 6-3.
The hosts started the second half with real promise and put pressure on France early on. With points on offer in front of the posts, England opted for the scrum and after continued dominance the referee awarded England the penalty try, which was converted by Slade.
With 50 played, England extended the lead as Slade kicked a third penalty after a French infringement which also saw centre Etienne Dussartre sent to the sin-bin.
But you can never write France off, and despite being a man down, the visitors created an overlap in the corner and wing Gabriel Lacroix dived over to score, which was converted by Serin to make it 16-10.
As the game approached the final quarter. England began to reassert some authority and a mix up in the French defence gave England the put in in front of the posts, and captain Jack Clifford peeled away from the back of the scrum to dive over to make it 23-10.
With ten minutes to go Clifford scored his second try, fluid passing - including a sublime tap-pass from prop Cowan-Dickie - freed up the captain to dive over. And Clifford completed his hat-trick with two minutes to play, touching down in the corner before wing Henry Purdy scored his first England try after a good pass from full-back Howard.
England Under-20s starting XV v France
15 Ben Howard (Worcester Warriors)
14 Jack Arnott (Exeter Chiefs)
13 Mark Jennings (Sale Sharks)
12 Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
11 Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers)
10 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
9 Alex Day (Northampton Saints)
1 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
2 Nathan Morris (London Wasps)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
4 Elliott Stooke (Gloucester Rugby)
5 Dom Barrow (Leeds Carnegie)
6 Harry Wells (Leicester Tigers)
7 Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs)
8 Jack Clifford (Harlequins, capt)
16 Danny Herriott (Northampton Saints) on for Harry Wells 75 mins
17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints) on for Nathan Morris 71 mins
18 Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) on for Kyle Sincker 60 mins
19 Tom Jubb (Saracens) on for Dom Barrow 66 mins
20 David Sisi (London Irish) on for Joel Conlon 52 mins
21 Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby) on for Alex Day 52 mins
22 Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby) on for Jack Arnott 42 mins
23 Tom Stephenson (Northampton Saints) on for