England Academy 18 Australia Schoolboys 6: England youngsters provide proof future is in safe hands at Headingley

IT IS now almost becoming commonplace for England Academy to defeat the Australian Schoolboys '“ will the senior side eventually follow suit?

Although England’s youngsters took more than 20 years to eventually win a series against their great rivals, they have now triumphed four times since 2002.

Dave Elliott’s side completed the latest success with a fine display at Emerald Headingley last night following a performance full of grit, character and no little skill.

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Although there were seven Leeds Rhinos players featuring on home turf, it was someone from across the Pennines who came up with the killer plays to help secure back-to-back Test wins over the tourists.

England Academys Jack Welsby evades the Australian defence to go over for a try at Headingley last night. Picture: Simon HallEngland Academys Jack Welsby evades the Australian defence to go over for a try at Headingley last night. Picture: Simon Hall
England Academys Jack Welsby evades the Australian defence to go over for a try at Headingley last night. Picture: Simon Hall

Stylish St Helens full-back Jack Welsby delivered two classy first-half tries to set the tone for the hosts, helping establish a 16-6 interval lead they never truly looked like relinquishing.

He got on the outside of Star To’a to accelerate away for his first and then did brilliantly to evade would-be tacklers to stretch over for his second; if this is Saints’ long-term future, maybe they won’t miss Ben Barba too much after all.

However, both scores came from incessant English pressure in defence forcing the visitors into mistakes in their own half.

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It was a underlying theme of the overall display; determined England, for large parts, bullied their mainly bigger rivals into submission.

When the inevitable second half push did come from the tourists, time after time England found the energy and strength to repel them.

In the end, Australia simply ran out of ideas coming up against such a well-organised and efficient defence.

England’s pack was outstanding, led superbly by rugged Widnes Vikings second-row Sam Walters before his departure with for a HIA, but followed on by the likes of Bradford Bulls prop Oliver Wilson, Halifax-born Morgan Smithies and some massive impacts from the bench by Leeds duo Muizz Mustapha and Thomas Holroyd.

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Behind them, Harry Smith and Callum McLelland controlled and kicked admirably as the side, who won the first Test 14-8, once more showed their maturity and calm under pressure.

Captained by Hull FC centre Cameron Scott, Smith had given them an early lead with a penalty – his third in the 49th minute was the only score of the second period – but Australia did get their sole breakthrough soon after.

Ironically, it came after Huddersfield Giants winger Innes Senior missed a gilt-edged chance, juggling and then spilling after Welsby had found space for the first time and made the perfect pass.

Australia capitalised by moving upfield and scoring as To’a latched onto Tom Deardon’s flighted kick, England, perhaps for the only time all evening, caught dozing on their own line.

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Deardon improved but then Welsby’s quality shone through, Smith improving both, and the visitors became increasingly fragile, tempers fraying at times as they clearly lost their cool.

Smith added another penalty on the stroke of half-time following Ryan Gray’s high tackle on the marauding Mustapha, who proved a real handful again.

Elliott said: “It mirrored the first game really.

“First half we were dominant, completed our sets really well and smothered their attack really. Second half they came at us and we took our foot off the gas a bit but defensively we were outstanding.

“We bullied them at times and I don’t think I’ve seen an England side do that to Australia at any age group.”

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England Academy: Welsby; Nisbet, Scott, Newman, I Senior; McLelland, Smith; Wilson, Johnson, Havard, Walters, Trout, Smithies. Substitutes: Mustapha, McConnell, Holroyd, Shorrocks.

Australian Schoolboys: Cini; Sab, Best, To’a, Crichton; madden, Deardon; Nanovo, Gray, Tanner, Compain, Doorey, Talau. Substitutes: Altus, Dragisic, Bazzaz, Pele.