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Led by a hat-trick from leading try-scorer Jimmy Martin Coventry Rugby brought the curtain down on their season with an entertaining win over England Under-20s in a 150th anniversary celebration match.

The hosts eventually scored eight tries to England’s six, but with retirement-bound Will Chudley very much to the fore the damage was done during a first half which they closed with a thumping 35-nil lead.

The Under-20s began to gel in a second period which they ‘won’ 38-19 and head to next month’s World Cup with plenty of optimism and the best wishes of everyone at the Butts Park Arena.

An excellent crowd of 4109 stayed on at the end to help Cov see off this season’s leavers in a ceremony that saw Chudley take home not only a framed shirt but also the man-of-the-match award.

Martin soon opened Cov’s account when he got on the end of a flowing move and when Pat Pellegrini tagged on the conversion he took his seasonal tally past 200 points.

Cov’s Tongan no.10 then set up their second score for skipper Jordon Poole with a neat step and offload before the blue-and-whites’ pack shunted England’s scrum back fully five metres to give Chudley the space to send Martin racing to the line from inside his own half.

The home side had a fourth try on the board early in the second quarter through the pacy David Opoku and much to the delight of the home support powerful no.8 Chester Owen also claimed a touchdown before the break courtesy of a Matt Kvesic carry and offload.

With Pellegrini achieving a 100 per cent return from the kicking tee, Cov were out of sight at the break and England went further behind early in the second half when Chudley’s final act as a professional rugby player created his team’s sixth score for newly-arrived Ryan Hutler.

David Opoku scores for Cov against England U20s (credit: John Coles)

After Theo Mannion added the conversion, the visitors opened their account through replacement Arthur Green who was shunted over for a score which Northampton fly half George Makepeace-Cubitt converted.

The men in white soon doubled their total through a fine Angus Hall finish before Cov centre Will Wand sent Owen charging over for his second try of the day.

England replacement Connor Byrne then claimed a brilliant solo score after gathering a long Cov kick and beating five defenders in a mazy 60-metre run. Ben Coen added the conversion and the Exeter back soon split the uprights for a second time following a good Malelili Satala finish.

Coventry then lost Obi Nkwocha and seconds later Suva Ma’asi to the sin-bin with England also being awarded a penalty try for the replacement hooker’s maul collapse.

But Cov hung in there and Martin completed his hat-trick in the closing stages with a neat kick-and-chase score which Mannion improved.

Right on full time, England had the last word through Hall who scored his second of the game following a perfectly-timed Conor Byrne pass.


Coventry Rugby: Wilson; Opoku, Wand, Hitchcock, Martin; Pellegrini, Chudley; Nairau, Poole, Salt; Anstey, Nkwocha; Ball, Kvesic, Owen.

Replacements: Ma’asi, Warren, Andrews, Nayalo, Stone, Lane, Mannion, Hutler, Mitchell, Ogden

England U20s: Jones; Glister, Spencer, Myall, Wills; Makepeace-Cubitt, Allan; Miell, Isaacs, Halliwell; Cuckson, Burrow; Logan, Timmins, Carr.

Replacements: Oliver, Clarke, Sela, Browne, Green, McParland, Coen, Hall, Satala, Byrne

Referee: Jamie Parr

Attendance: 4109

Star man: Will Chudley

Half-time: Coventry Rugby 35-0 England U20s