venue: Stobart Stadium, Widnes
27th November 2009
Full Match Report
ENGLAND COMMUNITY LIONS U18 v AIS
England Community Lions U18s were left disappointed as their hard work went unrewarded against the Australian Institute of Sport. For long periods of the match, England stood toe-to-toe with their counterparts but were eventually over-run 48-20 at the Stobart Stadium, Halton.
In a first half in which England were arguably the better team, they would have felt aggrieved to go into the break behind on the scoreboard. Australia had an uncharacteristically shaky start, with early handling errors gifting England good field position and it was England who took the lead fifteen minutes into the match.
Prop forward, Stephen Welton, powered his way over the line from first receiver and Kerman added the extras. But Australia were back level shortly afterwards. Slick passing, pace and good support play by Watson, Carter and then Lucas broke the English line with winger, Lucas, scoring to the left of the sticks.
Australia then took the lead after twenty-three minutes, in unfortunate circumstances for England. Chris Ford, making his Lions debut, lost the ball in the tackle in his own half and Australian stand off Paul Carter was able to capitalise on the error and score under the posts.
England had been putting Australia under pressure with high kicks from the first whistle and forced fiery fullback, Morseu, to make numerous mistakes in the first half. With five minutes of the half remaining, England’s pressure was rewarded after they forced an Australian drop-out for another set of six.
Australia were undone by Kerman’s decisive pass to impact forward Matthew Syron, who powered his way to the line. England retained the initiative and Kerman’s dynamic kicking game continued to cause the tourists problems. He was able to force another drop-out, from which Australia kicked the ball out of play on the full to gift England a penalty right in front of the sticks. With half time approaching England took the two points on offer and regained the lead 14-12 but the Aussies are no pushovers and added to their score just before the siren.
Cale Hobday put loose forward John Puna through for a converted try, which made the score line 18-14 in favour of Australia at the interval. It was a solid first half performance from England and they were unlucky to be behind. England started the second half on the front foot, building good pressure but indiscipline let Australia increase their lead. England conceded a penalty for holding on in the tackle from which Carter bagged his second try. Australian fullback Morseu’s torrid night continued as he knocked on again and appeared to throw a punch at England winger Blake Mahovic.
The game threatened to boil over with players from both sides getting involved but the ref was able to restore order. England got themselves back within one score shortly afterwards with Kerman involved again. His pass helped substitute Kirk Collins get on the score-sheet and maintained his 100% record with the boot to make the score 20-24.
However, the final twenty minutes belonged to Australia as they started to show their class against the tiring England pack. They scored four unanswered tries in the final stages, bearing heavy resemblance to the recent Four Nations final. Warden, Morseu and Feldt(2) finished the job for Australia and England will be disappointed at the way their intensity dropped in the latter stages. Nether-the-less England will take spirit from the way they competed for most of the game.
England head coach, Dave Woods said: “I’m really disappointed; I don’t think the score line indicated the game. For the first half we were the better side. In the second half we stopped doing the things that were giving us joy and they lifted and we didn’t go with them.”
He was particularly impressed with the turn around in performance level since the defeat in France earlier this month. “It was a lot better effort than we had in France; there was a lot of improvement from a lot of the players. When we realised we could compete we got some comfort from that and did ourselves proud.”
ENGLAND COMMUNITY LIONS U18
Reece Lazenby, Jonathon Frodsham, Chris Ford, Karl Olstrom, Blake Mahovic, Callum Phillips, Ian Kerman, Glenn Riley, Alistair Leek, Stephen Welton, David Orwell, Drew Johnson, Matthew Huby. Subs: James McDonald, Shane Ackerly, Matthew Syron, Kirk Collins
Maipele Morseu, Josh Batalibasi, Ryan Pooley, Reece Jaeger, Michael Lucas, Paul Carter, Dean Blackman, Cale Hobday, Matt Nean, Brendan Simpson, Kyle Feldt, Kurt Warden, John Puna. Subs: Lucas Grech, Josh Merritt, Dale Watson, Dylan Hill