Relton double helps England grab Grand Slam
By Mark Stevens
Arthur Relton produced a man-of-the-match display as England Under-20s wrapped up a Six Nations Grand Slam as they overcame Italy 27-17 at the Cardiff Arms Park.
The Exeter Chiefs winger - who has been an ever-present throughout the Championship scored twice for Alan Dickens’ side, whose other tries came from Orlando Bailey and Jack Bates.
It capped a remarkable tournament for Relton and England, who dominated this final fixture from start to finish.
Full-back Bailey set them on their way to victory, scoring in the sixth minute when he used a hitch kick to create half a yard off space, before riding two tackles to claim the score, which was converted by fly-half Tommy Matthews.
The England No.10 then extended his side’s lead with a 40-metre penalty, before more pressure on the Italian try-line saw try-scorer Bailey turn provider as his delayed pass released Bates to bag the converted score and make it 17-0 at the turn.
On the resumption, it was Italy who came out firing, bagging the first points of the half when Mattia Farrarin bagged a penalty.
However, England’s response was almost immediate as a well-worked backline move off a scrum created the opening for Relton to dive over in the corner.
Italy, though, refused to lie down and when they claimed a converted try through Ion Neculai, plus another from replacement Tommaso Di Bartolome, suddenly the game got interesting with just five points separating the two sides.
However, a yellow card for Nicolo Piantella hampered their fightback hopes and it was England who finished with a flourish, Relton claiming his sixth try of the tournament with another accomplished finish.
Head coach Dickens said: "That was a tough game for us today. We were probably a touch tired, certainly in that second half, and fair play to Italy as they made us earn that win today. This season the players have had to show that grit because of the circumstances they’ve faced. You saw today they wanted to play rugby and I’ve seen that throughout the season.
[On his favourite game of the Six Nations] “That’s quite hard really. Certainly the second half against France after being 19-0 down at half time, then the physicality and confrontation against Ireland – that was a massive game. They’ve all posed different challenges."