ENGLAND Academy have sealed a nine point victory over their French counterparts in an intriguing contest at the Stade Gearges Vaills, Palau.
Hull FC winger Reece Lyne was the stand out man for the England side, running in four tries to end the game with a personal tally of 16 points in a man of the match performance to help England secure a winning margin of 28-19.
Academy captain Brad Singleton opened the scoring for the visitors after only seven minutes during an encouraging opening spell for the English side but France hit back, scoring a converted try on the 19th minute followed only moments later by a penalty to take an 8-4 lead.
Lyne then got his name on the score sheet for the first time on the 33 minute mark and he crossed again to double his tally with two minutes remaining in the half with FC teammate Ben Crooks adding the extras.
England looked set to go into the break with a 14-8 lead but France managed to score a try with only seconds remaining to keep the score line uncomfortably close at 14-12.
England came out of the blocks firing in the second half and crossed twice in the space of ten minutes, with Ryan Shaw scoring before Lyne added his third of the game.
At 24-12, England looked comfortable but a six minute spell of dominance from France saw them claw their way back to 24-18 before Lyne put the result beyond doubt with his fourth score coming with three minutes left on the clock to secure a victory for the Academy side.
“I’m very pleased with the result,” said Academy coach Dave Elliott. “The lads showed a great spirit to get the result that we wanted here and I’m proud of the way they all performed on the day.
“It was a tough game and they were a big strong group of players just like we expected them to be and they didn’t give in at any point, they kept coming at us and coming back into the game so it was a really good test for the squad.
“I’m very proud of the way the guys responded to that and the way the whole squad has bonded this week. We’ve had a great trip over here. We trained in the Pyrenees early in the week before coming into Perpignan for the match and the experience is something I think has helped everyone involved.
“It was a good performance which has been the result a lot of hard work which the players have put in during the last few months and it was no surprise that guys like Brad (Singleton), Danny (Bridge) and Reece (Lyne) put in some outstanding performances and showed just how good they are and how much potential they have.”
England 19-man Squad
1. Jack Owens (Widnes Vikings, Halton Farnworth Hornets)
2. Mathew Russell (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
3. Ryan Shaw (Warrington Wolves, Barrow Island)
4. Ben Crooks (Hull FC, Castleford Lock Lane)
5. Reece Lyne (Hull FC, Ideal Isberg)
6. Dan Sarginson (Harlequins RL, Hemel Hempstead Stags)
7. Daniel Yates (St Helens, Waterhead)
8. Brad Singleton (C) (Leeds Rhinos, Barrow Island)
9. Liam Carberry (Wigan Warriors, Bold Miners)
10. Greg Burke (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
11. Danny Bridge (Wigan Warriors, Oldham St.Annes)
12. Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves, Parkside Golborne)
13. John Bateman (Bradford Bulls, Bradford Dudley Hill)
14. Michael Bishay (Harlequins RL, West London Sharks)
15. Jarred Stewart (Leeds Rhinos, Egremont)
16. Jordan Case (St Helens, Blackbrook Royals)
17. Daniel Smith (Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Lock Lane)
18. Bobbie Goulding Jrn (Warrington Wolves, Widnes St.Maries)
19 Josh Jones (St Helens, Blackbrook Chorley & Leyland)
Tries: Ryan Shaw, Brad Singleton, Reece Lyne 4
Goals: Ben Crooks 2