Five Wigan players play for England Academy in defeat to France
Late Franc Luc try sees France take the win
- Harry Smith comes into the side with James Worthington, Caine Barnes, Ollie Partington and Sam Kibula all keeping their places
Five Wigan players featured for England Academy as they narrowly went down to defeat against France Under-18s in Perpignan.
France’s Maxine Stefani opened the scoring early on, with Lucas Albert adding the two to make it 6-0.
But Leeds Rhinos prop Mikolaj Oledski hit back for England, crashing over from close range, Will Oakes leveling the scores with a goal.
England were firmly on top thereafter but, against the run of play, Joseph Therond collected a loose pass to race over from 60 metres out for France as they re-took the lead, Albert converting.
Albert then kicked a penalty goal after an England high tackle, before Albert Regatyred’s chip over the top sent in France winger Gambero-Nesman to make it 18-6 to the hosts at the break.
England flew out of the blocks in the second half and they got their reward on 50 minutes as Oledzki bagged his second, Oakes with the extras.
France then stretched their lead to eight points shortly after, as Albert kicked another penalty goal to make it 20-12 to the hosts.
But, undeterred, England hit back again, a slick Luis Johnson offload putting Oakes over for a try.
England faced a 20-16 deficit with just over 20 minutes to play, but Albert’s boot kept France ticking over, as they went 22-16 up within five minutes to make it 22-16.
However, England’s Oakes was next to score, Lee Briers’ side spreading the play for him to go over out wide.
He couldn’t convert and that left it at 22-20 to France with 10 minutes to play.
In the dying stages, England were desperate to get on top, and it was Warrington’s Brad Pinder who broke the game open, scorching out from dummy half before finding Cameron Smith, who laid the ball off to Castleford’s Luis Johnson, Oakes converting.
That gave England a late 26-22 lead, but Franco Romain got over for France within a minute to level it up.
The game was locked at 26-all with five minutes to play, but it was Franc Luc who proved to be the hero for France as he darted over after a quick tap to make it 30-26.
Luc then rounded off the scoring with a late drop goal to leave the final score at France 31-26 England.
England Academy Team
1 Callum Turner (Castleford Tigers, Lock Lane)
2 James Worthington (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Judes)
3 Robbie Storey (Castleford Tigers, West Hull)
4 Keanan Brand (Widnes Vikings, Wigan St Patricks)
5 Will Oakes (City of Hull Academy, Eastmoor Dragons)
6 Callum McLelland (Castleford Tigers, Lock Lane)
7 Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Judes)
8 Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Warriors)
9 Danny Walker (Widnes Vikings, Crossfields)
10 Caine Barnes (Wigan Warriors, Seaton Rangers)
11 Luis Johnson (Castleford Tigers, Oulton Raiders)
12 Cameron Smith (c) (Leeds Rhinos, Lock Lane)
13 Ollie Partington (Wigan Warriors, Orrell St James)
14 Brad Pinder (Warrington Wolves, Thatto Heath Crusaders)
15 Sam Kibula (Wigan Warriors, Leigh Miners Rangers)
16 Jack Brown (City of Hull Academy, East Hull)
17 Owen Farnworth (Widnes Vikings, Chorley Panthers)
Report - rugby-league.com