ENGLAND Academy opened their touring account with a 28-18 victory over New South Wales Juniors at Narrabeen.
The Academy side ran in five tries during an attritional contest that saw them come from behind on two separate occasions to get off to a winning start.
The game began poorly for the Academy side as they found themselves 4-0 down after less than seven minutes but a steely resolve saw them responded immediately through half-back Ryan Hampshire.
Winger Joe Burgess rounded his defender to play the ball back inside to the supporting man who found Hampshire on hand to show a clean pair of heels to the covering defence.
Hampshire then found winger James Saltonstall who doubled England’s tally when he broke through down the right hand flank. Man of the Match Hampshire added the extras to make the scores 10-4 at the interval.
It was a short lived lead for England however as New South Wales got off to a flying start in the second half, with a quick-fire double allowing them to open up an 18-10 advantage.
Winger Meehan found himself in space on the outside for an easy run in after just two minutes before loose forward Harrison gathered a high-ball between the posts to crash over three minutes later.
England were still behind by eight points with just over ten minutes to go but they showed their class to run in three tries in just eight minutes.
First England’s Ben Currie powered his way over from a quick play-the-ball and then the Warrington Wolves player doubled his personal tally after Hampshire spilt the defence and played Currie through from 25 yards out.
Centre Greg Wilde then pounced on an error from the NSW full-back to extend the lead with Hampshire adding the extras to make it 28-18.
“We’re quite happy with the win,” said England Academy coach Dave Elliott. “Winning the first game is the best way to start. We expected our performance to be a bit scratchy and a little under par because of the traveling, which was the case, but I think as the game went on we showed a lot of good touches in our attack.
“To come the distance we have and play after just a few days is a good start for us and I’m pleased with the character the lads showed to come from behind on two separate occasions.
“We’ve a quick turnaround now before playing Parramatta on Saturday but that’s what we wanted. We wanted to get a good test mentally, physically and emotionally in the first week.
“I’m pleased with the effort today and the lads who haven’t played today will get a chance against Parramatta on Saturday to fight for a test jersey.”
The England Academy continue preparations for their two-test series against the Australian Schoolboys by taking on Parramatta Juniors on Saturday (KO 7.00pm Aus / 10.00am UK).
Tries: Hampshire, Saltonstall, Currie 2, Aspinall
Goals: Hampshire 4
Tries: Meehan 2, Harris, Harrison
1. Luke Briscoe; 2. James Saltonstall, 3. Greg Wilde, 4. John Ford, 5. Joe Burgess; 6. Liam Sutcliffe, 7. Ryan Hampshire; 8. Liam McAvoy, 9. Dominic Speakman, 10. Josh Johnson, 11. John Bateman, 12. Peter Aspinall, 13. Jordan Baldwinson.
Subs: 14. George Williams, 15. Gavin Bennion, 16. Ben Currie, 17. Luke Thompson.
New South Wales:
1. Dalin Watene-Zelezniak; 2. Willis Meehan, 3. Michael Morgan, 4. Sione Mata’utia, 5. Dee Jay Harris; 6 Drew Hutchinson, 7. Zac Nichols; 8. James Parker, 9. Tj McLean, 10. Joe Stimson, 11. Rhys Armstrong, 12. Taniele Siale, 13. Blake Harrison.
Subs: 14, Salesi funaki, 15. Tepai Teu Smith, 16. Anthony Semrany, 17. Brendan Cox, 18. Luke Yates.