Harry Mallinder's kicking helped England beat Wales © Getty Images
Academy News Mallinder the match winner as England U18 beat Wales
A late Harry Mallinder penalty was crucial for England U18 as they beat Wales 11-9 in Pobiedziska, Poland.
The win, in which Mallinder's Saints club mates James Fish and Rotimi Segun also came off the bench, sees England reach their fourth successive FIRA/AER European Championship final, which will be played on Saturday.
Prop Jack Stanley’s early try – his second in as many games – had given England a 5-0 lead, but Wales hit back with three penalties to make it 9-5 before England fly half Theo Brophy Clews clawed one back before the break to make it 9-8.
In terrible conditions, that’s exactly how the scoreline stayed until five minutes before the final whistle when Mallinder stepped up to send his kick between the posts from just short of half way.
Wales did have their own chances to win before that, missing three penalties in the second period while England were down to 14 men with Taylor Prell in the sinbin.
Head Coach John Fletcher said: “It was almost like a winter’s day up north out there today – not only was it wet but it was extremely cold. We made mistakes, but that’s to be expected in the conditions. It’s sometimes easier not to have the ball when the weather’s like that, and to be honest it could have gone either way.
“We’re really pleased to get into the FIRA final though – the lads deserve it. They didn’t give up against a strong Welsh defence and got their reward late on.”