- England Students seal famous win in Lisbon
- We just focused on our strengths – Farndon
Photo: Tania Richards
England Students pulled off an impressive 25-20 win against Portugal to break their three-year jinx in Lisbon, largely thanks to a 20-point haul from fly half Sam Katz.
The physical home side enjoyed the better of the first half in the Portuguese capital but England’s defence stood firm, as it did for so much of the afternoon.
Manuel Costa kicked Portugal into a 12-9 lead at the interval – England’s points came from the reliable boot of Loughborough University’s Katz – but the visitors came out after half-time with a bang.
An incisive break from centre Alex Lozowski eventually went through a number of phases, before Hartpury prop Chad Thorne crossed the whitewash unopposed, much to the delight of the travelling band of supporters.
Katz extended the lead with a penalty and a well taken drop goal as England put a real stranglehold on affairs, seeing James Farndon’s men into a commanding 22-12 lead with 12 minutes to go.
But a late Aderito Esteves try and Costa’s fifth penalty restored hope for the home side but it wasn’t to be, as a fifth Katz penalty - to make it 25-20 - sealed a famous win.
Farndon, in his first year at the helm of the Students, spoke of his admiration for his charges, praising the group for coming together so quickly.
Boys have been a pleasure to work with – Farndon
Photo: Tania Richards
“Real credit must go to the boys who have been an absolute pleasure to work with,” he said. “They’ve listened, worked hard and put into practice everything we’ve talked about all week.
“Even when we were down at half-time, we just focused on our strengths, namely at the set-piece and we delivered on that in the second half.”
“I’m really pleased for them and it’s now just a case of enjoying this before trying to build on it ahead of the game against France Universities next month,” he added.
Assistant coach Aaron James, new to the coaching set-up this season, was delighted with the efforts shown by a side containing 20 new caps, but reserved praise for the captain.
“A lot of players showed us not only their obvious talent but also their mental toughness today. Josh Beaumont typified that for us. When we were down, he rallied us and kept us on track and that’s a credit to him.
“As a coaching unit, though new to the England Students set-up, we’ve known each other for a while and it’s a real pleasure to be involved with this group and we look forward to seeing them in the next few weeks in BUCS and National League games.”
Points: Thorne 1T. Katz 5P, 1DG, 1C.
England Students starting XV
15 Hammersley, 14 Allan, 13 Lozowski, 12 Dancer, 11 Henry, 10 Katz, 9 Coote; 1 Gibbons, 2 O’Connell 3 Thorne, 4 Beaumont (c), 5 Casson, 6 Collins, 7 Stephenson, 8 Chambers
Replacements: 16 Elliot, 17 Bayford, 18 Gray, 19 Messum, 20 Pope, 21 Cozens, 22 Lewis
Portugal starting XV
15 Costa, 14 Esteves, 13 Oliveira, 12 Appleton, 11 Foro, 10 Costa, 9 Raposo; 1 Valente, 2 Correia, 3 Segurado, 4 Sousa, 5 Almeida, 6 da Costa, 7 Uva, 8 Girao