Young Rhinos help England Academy to Welsh win
England’s stars of the future showed their class here and now as they romped to a resounding 62-0 victory at Llanelli’s Stebonheath Park with five Rhinos included in the national side.
Fielding five players each from Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves, and with the benefit of some high quality advance preparation with the England Performance Unit, they were simply too hot for the Welsh to handle.
With Wigan forward Harry Rushton and Warrington pair George Roby and Josh Thewliss to the fore, England played at a fast tempo from the off and registered five tries during a dominant first half display.
Four of those tries came from Wolves players – full back Josh Thewlis brushed aside one defender and stepped smartly away from the rest to open England’s account on eight minutes, there was a brace for centre Connor Wrench and Ellis Longstaff was on the supporting end of super approach play by Newcastle Thunder’s Isaac Nokes.
Rushton, a tower of strength in the middle, also surged through to score as Wales struggled to gain any kind of foothold in the game.
Leigh Miners Rangers winger Will Lynch went close in the corner on the half hour, and half-back pairing Matthew Morgan (West Wales Raiders) and Ryan Griffiths (Ince Rose Bridge) tried every trick in the book, but they couldn’t break down a disciplined and determined England defence. And the Welsh duo found themselves in the sin bin during the second half as Welsh frustration deepened.
It was a half that began with Wales attempting to claw back a 26-0 deficit, but which soon followed a familiar pattern. Bradford Bulls’ Harry Shackleton produced a superb cut out pass to send in Leeds Rhinos’ winger Liam Tindall, before the outstanding Roby darted through from dummy half.
The hosts never capitulated and Newcastle Thunder’s James McGurk was one of several who gave their all up front, but Wales offered up too many errors and conceded a succession of soft penalties as they tried in vain to slow England’s momentum.
Either side of the hour mark, Roby followed up his own kick to touch down and Wigan’s Umyla Hanley started and finished a long range move to make the score 46-0 – before he too found himself in the sin bin.
As 12 played 11, England marched on relentlessly. Tindall collected a clever cross-field kick from Widnes Vikings’ Jacob Dugdale to score second, Huddersfield Giants’ Aidan McGowan created a hat-trick try for Wrench and as hooter sounded Iwan Stephens of Leeds streaked 70 metres straight from a scrum to seal a convincing 62-0 win.
Wales included players from City of Hull Academy, Crosfields, Leigh Miners Rangers, Newcastle Thunder, Salford Red Devils and Widnes Vikings alongside a healthy contingent from Welsh clubs Aber Valley Wolves, Cardiff Blue Dragons, Coleg y Cymoedd, North Wales Crusaders, Torfaen Tigers and West Wales Raiders, but were simply outclassed.
Tries: Thewliss; Wrench (3); Rushton; Longstaff; Tindall (2); Roby (2); Hanley; McGowan; Stephens
Goals: Thewlis (1/3); Stephens (6/8)