Solid 50 minutes for young Falcons second row
Will Witty made another notable contribution in an England shirt during the 2015 U20 World Championship Final on Saturday, as the reigning title holders went down 21-16 to New Zealand.
The 20 year old, who enjoyed an impressive season as a member of the Falcons senior academy, enjoyed a 50 minute outing in the tournament show piece, during which time he provided an assured presence in the England line out.
He also made his presence felt in open play, particularly in the opening exchanges which England dominated, with his speed to the breakdown playing a key role in building the momentum that led to his side’s first try through centre Max Clarke.
Despite this strong start, England found themselves 11-10 down at half-time, before going further behind early in the second half when No. 8 Akira Ioane drove over the line.
England responded with six crucial points from the boot of Rory Jennings as they continued to pressure and were unfortunate not to regain the lead when individual brilliance from Howard Packman set up Piers O’Conor for a sublime try.
However, as the replacement full back was deemed offside by the TMO when Packman chipped to start the attack and though England made a determined effort until the whistle, they couldn’t quite break through the Baby Blacks' defence for that final score.
While the team as a whole were unable to take their ultimate goal of a third consecutive title, Witty will return with a further enhanced reputation after earning plaudits for his performances against Japan, Wales, South Africa and New Zealand.
Having made his first Aviva Premiership appearances in the final matches of the 2014/15 season, the lock from North Yorkshire will be hopeful his experiences allow his burgeoning career to continue its upward trajectory.