With the half-time words of his coaches still ringing in his ears, Dragons wing Deon Smith executed their wishes perfectly as he ‘finished off’ England with an injury time try in the Under 20 Six Nations match in Colwyn Bay on Friday night.
Smith came on in the second half and scored the dramatic try in the 81st minute that earned Wales a sensational 11-10 victory to make it back-to-back victories. Now they head to Scotland in two weeks’ time before ending with another home tie against the Irish in north Wales.
“At half-time they told us to carry on what we were doing and to finish it off. The gap was there and luckily I was able to take it,” said Smith.
“I was just glad I could finish it off because the boys had put in such a big shift. When it was 3-0 at half time it was anyone’s game and now we want to finish off in style.”
Skipper Dewi Lake was full of praise once again for his goalkicker, Cai Evans, who landed two penalties in tricky conditions to give Wales the lead in the second half. The Ospreys outside half is now eight out of eight in the championship.
“We did what we didn’t do against France and that was keep going for the full 80. That’s what was needed and the clock was in the red zone when we won the game,” said Lake.
“It is huge to have your kicker step up and deliver in a difficult wind. There were a couple of chances for both teams in the first half, but to go in only three points down against as strong a side as England gave us a lot of confidence.
“Momentum is a big thing, but we know not to get complacent. Scotland will be a big challenge and they will want to come at us.”
Head coach Gareth Williams praised the character of his players to stay in the fight and strike at the death to beat the odds and come away with the win. He also admitted to getting a bit emotional when Deon Smith scored the winning try.
“The support in North Wales was superb and the anthem was very emotional and sung superbly. I have to admit we lost composure in the coaches box with that last score,” said Williams
“It was great and it was a really dramatic ending. We were really pleased with the second half because we spoke a lot about keeping the pressure on England.
“We really did that to go into a 6-3 lead. We were disappointed to concede the try we did, but they showed huge character to come back in the way they did after that.
“We got into their 22 a few times in the first time and we were disappointed we didn’t convert. Our defensive effort was fantastic and you could see that England were frustrated at half-time.
“We spoke about building pressure in the second half and that paid off in the end. Cai’s goal-kicking has been superb all season and he is one of the best in the world at this level, which is no surprise given the amount of work he puts in.
“Moments like that kept pressure on England and gave us the chance to win with the final play. We aren’t getting carried away with ourselves because we are growing towards the World Cup and that is still our main focus.
“We showed great character and a lot of quality throughout the game. We have got two weeks now to build up to a tough game in Scotland.
“You can ever play the perfect game, but it is always easier to work off the back of two wins in a row. This will give the boys a hell of a lot of confidence.”