13th June 2009, 17:28
2009 Wales Dragonhearts 42 England Lionhearts 4
The Wales A side, newly renamed the Dragonhearts, secured their third
The Wales A side, newly renamed the Dragonhearts, secured their third consecutive win over England Lionhearts after a 42-4 trouncing at the Brewery Field in Bridgend on Saturday.
It was Wales sixth win out of eight against England at this level and gives them a perfect start to their Four Nations campaign as they look for their seventh title in the eight years since the competition's inception.
Wales took the lead in just the fifth minute. Former Celtic Crusader Grant Epton created the try and Jamie Murphy slid over in the corner. The winger converted it himself.
England scored a try back five minutes later when Paul Hersnip kicked a grubber which Ethan Langhorn latched onto. However Rich Cadywood missed the kick to leave the visitors two points behind.
Matthew Hutchings was close to a second Wales try but Epton had slightly knocked on before slipping the ball out wide and the score was ruled out.
England thought they'd taken the lead on 18 minutes when Phil King picked up a loose ball to run under the sticks but the referee pulled play back for an England knock-on.
Wales were denied from the restart. Karl Davies was a metre short of scoring after a mazy run and Steve Williams was held up over the line on the next tackle.
However Hutchings finally increased Wales lead on 25 minutes after he intercepted a stray pass and ran 70 metres to the line. Murphy had no problems make the score 12-4.
Five minutes later it was 18-4. Twenty metres out on the fifth tackle, Jamie Murphy chip kicked through and ran onto it collecting it himself and was unchallenged as he placed the ball under the sticks. Once again he had no worries converting his own try.
Former Crusader Karl Hocking was next on the board after picked up a Steve Williams grubber that had taken an awkward bounce in the goal area. Murphy converted once again to Wales a 20-point lead at half-time.
England had the first major chance in the second half after a good passing move set up Jacques Steynberg who attempted to run over in the corner, but he was brilliantly forced into touch by Dafydd Hellard.
They had a further opportunity to score but Dave Orwell knocked on. Wales regained possession straight away and worked their way upfield culminating in Craig Fox burrowing his way under the posts. Murphy kept up his 100% kicking record to make the score 30-4.
There was a lengthy delay where England hooker Craig Middlemore was stretchered off the field after being forced back 10 metres by large Welsh forwards Gareth Howells and Christian Roets when in the possession of the ball. The force of the tackle was too much for him and he landed awkwardly injuring his back.
England were down and out but attempted a consolation try but Steynberg was pushed into touch for a second time.
Once again, Wales scored from the set after the resulting scrum with Adrian Owen finally placing the ball down underneath the posts. Murphy converted again.
Wales scored again five minutes later. Karl Davies slipped the ball to Matthew Hutchings who had no problems running over. Murphy's goal made the score 42-4.
England kept being denied as Wales defending well in the final moments to deny them a consolation. Dafydd Hellard caught well to save a certain try. He was pushed into touch and from the scrum, England lost possession after dropping the ball.
"I'm really pleased at how well the lads played today," said Wales coach Mike Healy. "We got one or two early tries which settled us down a bit and our gameplan was perfect after that. It was an outstanding performance. There's a lot of things today that we can work on as we have two tough games coming up so I think there's a good few more tries left in us yet. Scotland will be a tough game, I've played against them a couple of times myself and they always give us a good game. Ireland will be a different story as we're the away team this year but hopefully we'll be there the night before where we'll have a captain's run and I'm certain we'll give a good account of ourselves. But today has been the perfect start for us, it was a joy to watch."
1. Grant Epton (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
2. Dafydd Hellard (Valley Cougars)
3. Adrian Owen (Valley Cougars)
4. Karl Davies (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
16. Matthew Hutchings (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
5. Jamie Murphy (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
7. Steve Williams (Valley Cougars)
8. John Sonigan (Valley Cougars)
9. Shaun Owens (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
10. Matthew Dyer (Newport Titans)
11. Daniel Smith (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
20. Karl Hocking (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
13. Christiaan Roets (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
18. Gareth Howells (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
19. Paul Boden (NPT Steelers)
12. Anthony Watts (Valley Cougars)
14. Craig Fox (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
6. Paul Emanuelli (Valley Cougars)
Tries: Murphy (5, 30), Hutchings (25, 66), Hocking (38), Fox (50), Owen (61)
Goals: Murphy 7/7
15. Will Midgley (Huddersfield Underbank)
18. Jaques Steynberg (St Albans)
17. Rudi van de Merwe (St Albans)
7. Paul Hersnip (UCLAN)
12. Ethan Langhorn (Leeds Met)
11. Phil King (Wigan Riversiders)
2. Rich Cadywood (East Devon Eagles)
19. Dan Reeds (Lincoln City Knights)
16. Craig Middlemore (Wigan Riversiders)
4. Matt Evans (Telford Raiders)
20. David Orwell (Oldham College)
6. Rob Foreman (St Helens College)
5. Tony Emmins (East Devon Eagles)
10. Andrew Lake (St Albans Centurions)
3. Matt Cooper (Coventry Bears)
8. Andy Higham (Wigan Riversiders)
9. Craig Hogan (Wigan Riversiders)
13. Ian Marran (St Helens College)
14. Paul Maloney (St Albans Centurions)
Tries: Langhorn (10)
Goals: Cadywood 0/1
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow.
article by Ian Golden
13 June 2009