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Perkins helps England make winning start

PUBLISHED: 10:03 03 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:03 03 June 2015

Former Coopers pupil George Perkins is in action for England at the World Under-20 Championships (pic: Gareth Fuller/PA)

Former Coopers pupil George Perkins is in action for England at the World Under-20 Championships (pic: Gareth Fuller/PA)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

U20 World Championship: England 59 Japan 7

England kicked off the defence of their World Under-20 title with a big victory over Championship newcomers Japan at the Stadio San Michele, Calvisano last night.

Former Coopers pupil George Perkins set England on their way with the first try as they built a 45-0 lead in a dominant and composed first-half display.

Jack Walker and Tom Howe also touched down, with Aaron Morris and Stuart Townsend adding two tries apiece, but Japan were not completely undone and kept England under pressure with a passionate and determined performance after the break.

England head coach Jon Callard said: “I am pleased with that performance. We came out of the blocks and started really well. We were clinical with the opportunities that presented themselves to us.

“Second half we emptied the bench and Japan found momentum. To their credit, they were very good and stretched us on the edge with their attacking play.

“We are through the first game and will be all the better for the experience of dealing with the heat and conditions out here.”

England opened the scoring within the first minute through Perkins which Rory Jennings converted.

A second try was added minutes later when hooker Walker charged over in the corner, with Jennings again on target.

Scrum-half Townsend darted over from the back of England’s driving maul before full-back Morris got in on the action to score England’s fourth try and secure the all-important bonus point.

Jennings’ conversion put England 26-0 ahead within 15 minutes and a second try soon followed for Morris as he raced onto n offload from Tompkins.

Just before the half-hour mark Japan began building some phases with periods of attack in England’s half, but strong work at the breakdown by Paul Hill caused Japan to be penalised for not releasing.

Townsend took the penalty quickly, sprinting downfield to claim his second try in an all-round authoritative performance.

Howe, making his first England start, added another try just before half time, again created by Tompkins with a perfectly weighted grubber kick.

Replacement Sam Skinner got the scoreboard ticking within minutes of the second half, but it looked like Japan had responded when Tevita Tatafu drove over the line.

The effort was disallowed for obstruction, but buoyed by their efforts, Japan remained on the offensive and were eventually rewarded with a penalty try when Max Clark saw yellow for a deliberate knock on.

Ryuji Noguchi converted to claim the full seven points with 20 minutes left to play and the momentum remained with Japan until the final 10 minutes when England pushed for a final score and debutant Will Witty went over.

England play Wales next on Saturday, with a 7.30pm start.

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