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England U20s suffer a shock defeat to Georgia

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Geoff Caddick/AFP via Getty Images)

Recent England inconsistencies at U20s level continued on Thursday when they wrapped up their two-game tour of Georgia with a shock defeat in their second match in Tbilisi.

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The tourists had secured a hard-fought 41-36 victory in last Saturday’s opener but preparations for the upcoming Junior World Championship in South Africa came unstuck in their rematch against the eastern Europeans five days later.

The game turned on the yellow carding of Bristol’s Joe Jenkins, a sin-binning that was quickly followed by two tries – one converted – that put the Georgians 40-31 in front with six minutes remaining.

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The day Georgia beat Italy rugby | Special Highlights

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The day Georgia beat Italy rugby | Special Highlights

Restored to their full complement of players, England struck with a last-minute converted try from Exeter’s Greg Fisilau to cut the margin to two points.

However, their attempt to attack from deep in their own half in the game’s final play ended with a decision that went against them at a breakdown near the halfway line and the final whistle sparked a pitch invasion from the celebrating Georgian fans.

It was May 22 when Mark Mapletoft was appointed new England U20s head coach, the U18s assistant taking over from Alan Dickens who has since been confirmed as the new attack and backs coach at Dan McKeller’s Leicester.

Dickens’ England finished in fourth place in this year’s Six Nations, winning three of their five matches. Having won all three of their February games, they lost in March to France and Grand Slam champions and finished behind the third-place Italy on points difference.

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England are drawn in Pool B at this month’s World Championship, their campaign starting with a June 24 game in Paarl versus Ireland followed by a June 29 encounter with Fiji in Stellenbosch and then a July 4 contest against Australia in Cape Town.

Georgia, who go into the tournament as the 10th-ranked team, are in Pool C which features the hosts South Africa, Argentina and Italy.

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