England prepare for World Cup with romp

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Updated: October 22, 2017

England gained a useful workout in the build-up to the World Cup, running in 13 tries in a 74-12 rout of a Combined Affiliated States team in Perth.

Coach Wayne Bennett used all but one of his 24-man squad – St Helens fullback Jonny Lomax was the unlucky one to miss out – for a game played in four quarters at nib Stadium.

Bennett showed his hand ahead of England’s opening game against Australia in Melbourne next Friday by starting the game with specialist second-rowers John Bateman and Ben Currie in the centre spots and Sam Burgess in the back row of the pack to accommodate both Chris Hill and James Graham up front.

England’s physical dominance was evident from the start and, after leading 34-6 at halftime, the introduction of Alex Walmsley and Scott Taylor from the bench enabled them to stay on the front foot throughout the game, with James Roby making a big impression as replacement hooker.

Bennett took the opportunity to try out a few halfback permutations, with Gareth Widdop switching between five-eighth and fullback.

England made the perfect start when Luke Gale pounced on a handling error early to score the first of his two tries and the impressive Widdop carved open the shaky States defence to send Elliott Whitehead over for the second only three minutes later.

Left winger Ryan Hall, who is averaging a try a game so far in his 32-Test career, produced a trademark acrobatic finish to extend the lead and right winger Jermaine McGillvary also got in on the act before the end of the first quarter, when the tourists led 22-0.

England were never really stretched and only conceded a try when centre Ben Taylor intercepted a loose pass to romp 80 metres for a try.

Hall and Gale doubled their try tally before halftime and McGillvary added his second two minutes into the second half as England cut loose with three tries in a seven-minute spell.

George Williams started and finished one glorious move and Roby went over from dummy half before Tom Burgess took centre stage, charging over for two tries as England finished strongly.

Jordan Jacob grabbed a consolation try for the States team but Kevin Brown pounced on a defensive error to touch down at the other end and Widdop once more showed his class to get Kallum Watkins over.

Meanwhile Scotland copped a 50-14 reality check from under-23s NSW Country in their warm-up match in northern NSW.

Reeling from several crucial injuries before the tournament to the likes of Peter Wallace, Lachlan Coote, Euan Aitken and Kane Linnett, the Bravehearts wrapped the majority of their senior players in cotton wool for the loss.

After arriving just three days ago, they will kick off their campaign against Tonga in Cairns next Sunday.

This article first appeared on nrl.com

Source: http://www.raiders.com.au/news/2017/10/22/england_prepare_for_.html





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