No glory for Saints trio as England lose final against France

Saints fly-half James Grayson came off the bench for England in the final
Saints fly-half James Grayson came off the bench for England in the final

Saints fly-half James Grayson came off the bench to kick a couple of conversions but it was to be disappointment for England Under-20s in the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship.

The Red Rose, who handed starts to Saints duo Ehren Painter and Fraser Dingwall, were beaten 33-25 by hosts France in Sunday evening's showpiece in Béziers.

Steve Bates' side trailed 14-8 at the break with France scoring a try through Cameron Woki and Louis Carbonel contributing nine points.

A Marcus Smith penalty and Jordan Olowofela’s try meant the gap was not too sizeable for England.

But despite a further Smith penalty, Joe Heyes' try, Olowofela's second score and Grayson's conversions, England were beaten.

Carbonel kicked four penalties and Adrien Seguret touched down to give France their first ever Under-20 world title.

England were appearing in their sixth-consecutive World Rugby U20 Championship final but after victories in 2013, 2014 and 2016, they were not able to add to that.

England head coach Bates said: “It’s tough to take when you’ve got a group of players who have worked so hard together and developed so much over the season.

“I thought it was a really good performance.

"Obviously we had one or two issues in the scrum which the referee penalised us for but I think in all other departments we can take a lot of positives and pride from the way the guys played.

“Our plan was to try to exploit their lack of scoring in the last 20 minutes of the game and we were just not quite close enough to do that, as we scored some good tries in that last quarter.

“I hope the past three weeks have been an enjoyable and important experience for the players and will play a crucial part in their development.”