THE England Youth side secured a series draw against neighbours France after a convincing 58-14 victory at Bradford’s Grattan Stadium yesterday to avenge their narrow 19-18 defeat on Good Friday.
Having lost to a dramatic last minute drop-goal in the first test, the England Youth side were determined to level the series but the opening exchanges of the game were tense and it was France who struck the first blow, when forward Karim Madani gave the visitors an early four point lead.
However, that score was the catalyst for an emphatic England performance which saw the Youth team dominate the remainder of the game and it was centre Jordan Harper who crossed first for England after ten minutes with Harry Lightfoot Brown and George Williams quick to follow suit and make the score 16-4 in favour of the home side.
Madani looked to have replied for France but excellent goal-line defence from England saw the player held up over the line and moments later a break from stand-off Ryan Hampshire released Greg Richards to touch down and extend the English lead.
Hampshire was quick to add his name to the try-scorer list just two minutes later and was instrumental in creating a sixth English score as his short ball allowed interchange Brad Day to add a further four points on the half-hour mark.
French half-back Torreilles had the last say in the half with a score minutes before the whistle which seen England take a comfortable 34-8 lead into the half-time break.
England began the second half in the ascendancy and Jordan Baldwinson capitalised on the early pressure to widen the lead to 40-8 but the gap was reduced to 26 points when forward Bouzinac scored what would be the last try of the game for France.
Lightfoot Brown grabbed his second of the game before man-of-the-match Hampshire claimed his second and second rower Alex Mellor completed the scoring when he touched down with only a few minutes remaining.
Full-back Lewis Tierney added the extras with the boot to bring his personal tally to 16 points and leave the full-time result 58-14 in favour of England.
England Youth side that faced France:
1 – Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors / Orrell St James / St John Fisher R C High School)
2 – Ben Parry (St Helens / Chorley Panthers / Parklands High School)
3 – Jordan Harper (Leeds Rhinos / Normanton Knights /Kettlethorpe High School)
4 – Harry Lightfoot Brown (Harlequins RL / Elmbridge Eagles / Claremont Fan court School)
5 – Josh Casey (Bradford Bulls / Siddall ARFC / The North Halifax Grammar School)
6 – Ryan Hampshire (Wigan Warriors / Normanton ARLFC / Normanton Freestone Highschool)
7 – George Williams (Wigan Warriors / Ince Rose Bridge / Standish Community High)
8 – Greg Richards (St Helens / Chorley Panthers / Ulverston Victoria High School)
9 – Ryan Maneely (Warrington Wolves / Saddleworth Rangers / Saddleworth High School)
10 – Michael Learmonth (Leeds Rhinos / Hunslet Warriors / South Leeds Highschool)
11 – Jordan Baldwinson (Leeds Rhinos / Hunslet Warriors / Cockburn School)
12 – Alex Mellor (Bradford Bulls / Kings Cross Park / Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School)
13 – William Milner (Warrington Wolves / Kings Cross Park / Rishworth School)
14 – Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos / Hunslet Warriors / Rodillion School)
15 – Jack Anderson (Hull FC / Shawcross Sharks / Millthorpe School)
16 – Bradley Day (Leeds Rhinos / Hunslet Warriors / Boston Spa School)
17 – Zak Dewhirst (Warrington Wolves / King Cross Park / Ryburn Valley High School)
Tries: Harper, Lightfoot Brown 2, Williams, Richards, Hampshire 2, Day, Baldwinson, Mellor
Goals: Tierney 8, Williams 1
The picture shows Saints contingent: Ben Parry, Greg Richards, Andre Savalio and Lewis Galbraith.