Jamaica 4 England Knights 56: Will Pryce stars as Knights run riot
Although essentially an England second-string, Paul Anderson’s side was more like an Under 21s outfit given the number of young players on show at Wheldon Road.
And many of them did their hopes of eventually progressing to the first team a world of good with some impressive performances against an admittedly limited Reggae Warriors side made up largely of Championship players.
Chief among them was teenage Huddersfield Giants stand-off Will Pryce who was a joy to watch but Hull KR scrum-half Mikey Lewis, two-try Leeds Rhinos centre Jack Broadbent, captain Danny Walker and the rangy Kai Pearce-Paul also showed up well.
Many of them on show will be seen as potential candidates for the 2025 World Cup in France but Anderson sees no reason why some cannot force their way into England head coach Shaun Wane’s plans for next year’s delayed tournament which has been postponed from this autumn.
“One hundred per cent, they can,” he said.
“Shaun was here with the senior squad up in the (hospitality) boxes over there and I’m sure he’s picked a few things out of this and some people who may well force his hand next year.
“I’m really excited by this group; it’s exciting for the future of the game here.
“Will (Pryce) will get a fair bit of praise butI thought Mikey Lewis was good and Danny Walker and all that one, six, seven and nine spine in there when Aarons Smith came on, too, worked really well.
“We made some mistakes. We allowed Jamaica to play a bit more than we should have done at the start.
“But once we got into it we completed at nearly 90 per cent which shows what we’ve got.”
England were, understandably, too hot for a Jamaica side made up mainly of part-time players.
Pryce, in particular, was really impressive with his running game and footwork and it is remarkable to think the 18-year-old only made his Super League debut in July.
He scored a wonderful try in the first half, embarrassing his Giants team-mate Ash Golding with a stunning sidestep and turn of pace that left all the Jamaican defence for dead.
It is easy to draw comparisons with his father, the ex-Bradford Bulls and Great Britain legend Leon, and there is no doubt he is a star in the making.
Pryce also set up a try for 19-year-old Ellis Longstaff and finished with seven goals before departing with an ankle injury towards the end which he says is not serious.
Anderson, who played with Pryce Senior for Bradford, St Helens and Great Britain, said: “He’s getting a lot of accolades and rightly so.
“But he’s got to stay grounded as well which I’m sure he will with the boys he’s got around him and the club he’s at.
“I’ve learned that from the four or five days we’ve spent together. “He’s got a future.”
Broadbent, 19, finished with a brace after switching to centre and Warrington Wolves full-back Matty Ashton and St Helens hooker Smith also got doubles.
Rhinos second-row Morgan Gannon, 17, impressed off the bench, and there was quality displays throughout.
It is only a pity the Knights do not have another game this year - and still do not know when they will play next.
Jamaica, meanwhile, were supposed to be making their World Cup debut this year but clearly will benefit from the extra 12 months to get ready.
They will need to try and get some more experience on board to add to the likes of Ben Jones-Bishop, Michael Lawrence, Golding and Jordan Turner, the Castleford Tigers player who also saw this game as his testimonial.
Knights were already well in control by the break, leading 24-4 but they went further ahead within seconds of the restart when Turner spilled Lewis’ kick-off allowing Broadbent to scamper over for his second try.
Turner’s big night had already got off to a bad start when his pass was intercepted by the Rhinos centre who raced 90m for the game’s opening try in the 15th minute.
Knights captain Walker burrowed over for their second try.
York City Knights winger Jones-Bishop - one of the few Jamaicans with Super League experience - did score when England were reduced to 12 men following George Lawler’s high tackle on Halifax’s James Woodburn-Hall.
But it was only a brief respite.
Meanwhile, England’s first team’s only fixture of the autumn is against France in Perpignan next Saturday with Wane naming his squad tomorrow.
Jamaica: Woodburn-Hall; B Jones-Bishop, J Brown, Ogden, Johnson; Turner, Coleman; Peltier, Golding, Lawrence, Bravo, J Farrell, Tomlinson. Substitutes: Magrin, Andrade, Williams, Agoro, McDonald, A Brown, Ball.
England Knights: Ashton; Halsall, Wrench, Broadbent, Marshall; Pryce, Lewis; Lawler, Walker, English, Pearce-Paul, Longstaff, McDonnell. Substitutes: Smith, Gannon, Holroyd, Lees.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury)