venue: Langtree Park, St Helens
16th June 2012
Full Match Report
ENGLAND KNIGHTS v IRELAND
A young Ireland squad went down to a quicker England Knight in Langtree Park after the Knights took control in the second half. With six uncapped players in his team Mark Aston knew it would be a tough task against a team full of Super League players.
The weather meant large parts of the game would be played down the middle of the park and Ireland were looking to get a hold on the Knights pack in the opening moments. Despite their joy up the middle it was the Knights and Leeds Rhinos centre Zak Hardaker who opened the scoring after slipping in between Adam Hughes and Ian Cross to touch down a Matty Smith grubber through. From this Ireland rallied and pushed deep into Knights territory and put them under pressure but failed to get any change from the Knights defence.
The Knights then extended their lead thanks to another Leeds back Ben Jones-Bishop touched down. This left the score at 10-0 to the hosts. Ireland then got some joy late in the half when debut centre John O’Donnell took two players over the line and got his first try for the Wolfhounds. It looked like Ireland would close the gap before the Knights bagged two late first half tries the second of which was Hardakers second. This left the game at 22-4 going in at the break with Ireland needing a bit more going forward.
The second half got off to a flying start for the Knights with Matty Smith crossing over to add to his three conversions. After this the flood gates opened and Ireland couldn’t live with the pace of the Knights. Tries from Ratchford, Jones-Bishop, Shaun Lunt, Mark Flanagan, Josh Hodgson and Jodie Broughton put the sword to the Irish who battled defiantly throughout. In the end the gap in experience told as the young Irish squad couldn’t pick themselves up in the second half once the Knights got a roll on.
Chris Riley, Jermaine McGillvary, Zak Hardaker, Ben Jones-Bishop, Jodie Broughton, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Smith, Mike Cooper, Shaun Lunt, Scott Taylor, Mark Flanagan, Liam Farrell, Dale Ferguson. Subs: Josh Hodgson, Gary Wheeler, Paul Clough, Chris Clarkson
Ian Cross, Joe Taylor, Elliott Cosgrove, John O’Donell, Adam Hughes, James Mendicka, Liam Finn, Anthony Mullally, Pat Smith, Michael Haley, David Allen, Kurt Haggerty, Tyrone McCarthy. Subs: Sean Casey, Danny Bridge