venue: Taff's Well, Cardiff
30th August 2013
Full Match Report
Wales under 16s were heartbroken yet again against England after losing to a try in the last five minutes. Just like in the first test in Neath in April, the Welsh gave their rivals too much of a head start but once again they fought back to level. But it was a late Aaron Smith try that was the only real difference between the two sides in the end. Despite the defeat a massive credit must be given to the Welsh youngsters. The majority of their side came from the South Wales Scorpions Academy, yet all the England line-up were top Super League junior players.
With two very close games this year, England won the first 22-18, Wales coach Dave Clark was proud of his side. “I’m not disappointed one bit,” he said. “The boys have worked really hard all year. We’ve had a great two-day camp and prepared well for this contest. We were disappointed with the first half where we only completed six from 14 sets and we knew that if we did better in the second half then we scored tries. We saw signs of that in the second half when we challenged them and asked them questions on their line.
“I’m so proud to be Welsh and I’m so proud of these players. The desire for the boys to come out and win the second half comfortably was a real pleasure to see. I just hope that some Super League clubs pick some of our players up. If they don’t then we have to work hard to keep them in the game.”
England took the lead after just five minutes when Ryan Ince got onto the end of a fine passing move involving Morgan Smith and Harry Tyson-Wilson. Smith missed the kick. A half length of the field run from Harvey Livett quickly doubled the scores and this time Smith converted to give the visitors a 10-0 lead. England’s third came on 20 minutes after Ince broke through again. Smith missed the conversion again.
But Wales struck back straight away when Ben Jones scored in the corner, missing the kick making the score 14-4. Livett added his second try and England’s fourth just before the interval to put England 18-4 up at half-time.
Brad Harrison was close to getting a fifth for the visitors fairly soon into the second half but was penalised for a knock-on. But it was Wales who struck first in the second half when following an England knock-on, the ball worked its way over to Lloyd Bodman who forced his way over. Jones converted.
Wales scored again straight away. Luke Williams in the corner and Jones converted well to put them within two points of the English. England had the chance to extend their lead but their passing started to go awry and a massive chance for a try, with a ball intending for the in-space Isaac Noi, instead reached touch. Noi had another opportunity after being fed by Ince but Wales’ Morgan Knowles was up to the challenge and forced him off the field.
At the other end Wales were denied when Regan Grace looked to have touched down in the corner after good work from Ben Jones but pressure from the England defence forced him to knock-on. However the Welsh levelled with ten minutes to go with Jones kicked a penalty from in front of the sticks. But it was left to Aaron Smith who grounded under the sticks to seal the narrow England win. Morgan Smith converted and Harry Tyson Wilson added a drop goal for good measure to wrap it up and keep up England’s 100% winning record against the Welsh.
Victorious England coach Stuart Barrow said: “I said to our players at half-time that if we go away from what we’re trying to do then we’d be challenged and that’s exactly what happened and it turned it into a good game.
“It’s the first time we’ve been together as a team since the first game against Wales in April and we’ve prepared well this week. It’s a learning curve for them and I was proud of how they hung in there and got the win at the end. The improvement in Wales over the years has been significant. It’s been a close two games and Wales could have won each, especially in the first. A real credit to them today, they hung in there and pushed us all the way. If I was at a Super League club now I’d be looking at this video and seeing who I could pick up from here in South Wales as they thoroughly deserve it.”
Ben Jones, Regan Grace, Luke Williams, Matt Owen, Zak Williams, Morgan Knowles, Curtis Davies, Kerian Hughes, Alex King, Sion Jones, Jordon Liney, Morgan Jefferies, Connor Davies (C). Subs: Lewis Alexander, Rhys Brownsell, Lloyd Bodman, Geraint Lawrence
Charlie Phythian, Ryan Ince, Kameron Pearce Paul, Harvey Livett, Roshane Johnson, Harry Tyson Wilson, Morgan Smith, Sam Hallas (C), Aaron Smith, Jordan Crowther, Jake Moore, Brad Harrison, Jordan Lane. Subs: Reece Brunt, Jake Campbell, Frazer Morris, Isaac Noi