"Set Piece Dominance" England U20s Scrum Power Goes Viral After World Championships Opener - Ruck

“Set Piece Dominance” England U20s Scrum Power Goes Viral After World Championships Opener

The future of the England pack seems to be in good hands, after the England U20s showcased a dominant scrum in the opening match of the 2023 World Championships.

The England U20s scrum forced back Ireland’s U20s in numerous collisions, with front row pillars Afolabi Fasogabon and Asher Opoku laying the foundations at prop. The two sides clashed in an all-time classic for U20s rugby, with the sides sharing the plaudits come the final whistle, after an immense 34-34 draw.

England’s power at scrum-time was a definite talking point, in a match which featured countless exciting areas to analyse. Head Coach Mark Mapletoft has certainly pieced together a compact eight-man unit, as highlights of the side’s scrummaging went viral on social media.

Harlequins’ newest recruit Chandler Cunningham-South had an inspired performance in the back row, and orchestrated the scrum-time momentum. Despite starring predominantly on the flank for London Irish last season, Cunningham-South adapted well to his role at number eight, and provided the extra engine room to force back the Irish pack.

Chandler Cunningham-South of London Irish during the Gallagher Premiership match between London Irish and Exeter Chiefs at The Gtech Community Stadium, London on 6 May 2023 (Photo: Danny Loo/PPAUK)

The former Exile scored a key try from the back of the scrum, diving over from close range when Ireland were pinned back beyond their try-line. Centre Jacob Cusick added two extra tries for England, with Connor Slevin marking his international debut with 18 points from the boot.

Ireland found their way to the try-line through six different scorers, as James McNabney, George Hadden, Sam Prendergast, Ruadhan Quinn, Hugh Cooney and Henry McErlean all scored against England. Prendergast had fleeting success from the tee, and only managed to kick two conversions. However, the fly half slotted three additional penalties, to see Ireland through for the draw.