- England Counties secure an impressive 78-0 win
- Head coach Jan Bonney "pleased not to concede"
Photo: RFU Archive
CHRIS JOHNSON kicked 23 points and scored one of England’s 11 tries as he led the Counties to a 78-0 victory over Belgium A at Kituro Rugby Club, Brussels on Wednesday (12 June) evening.
In a dominant performance England took a 36-0 half time lead with scores for debutants Drew Cheshire, Nevaro Codlin and Chris Hallam.
North Midlands wing Cheshire claimed a second try after the break with full-back Sean Taylor the only other player to touch down twice. Chris Harris and experienced forwards Chris Wearmouth and Matt Hall also got on the score sheet as momentum stayed with the visitors.
Head Coach Jan Bonney said: "We are very happy with our first win, the players kept focused for 80 minutes and all made positive contributions. Belgium put us under real pressure for periods of the game and we were pleased not to concede, the team has come together well and it’s great to see that unity on the pitch. The game was good preparation for Sunday which we know will be a tough, physical Test."
Discipline proved costly for Belgium as Lancashire fly-half Chris Johnson opened up the score sheet with a penalty which was followed soon after by a converted penalty try.
Good hands by the back line released Cheshire to burst 20 metres down the wing for England’s second. Despite missing the conversion Johnson was soon back in the mix, making a break from just outside the 22 and hitting the space to cross the line.
Codlin increased the score to 27-0 with a strong finish after taking on three defenders. Yorkshire scrum half Hallam made a clean break from the back of a ruck to give England a final try before the break.
With the Counties now in full flow, good interlinking play between the forwards and backs enabled them to build the phases before a pacey finish from Lancashire’s Taylor gave him his first try. Replacement Harris showed his strength to force through three tackles and over the line as he extended England’s lead to 48-0 after receiving the ball from the back of the scrum.
Another long range individual effort from Cheshire earned him his second before Durham lock Wearmouth smashed over the line from close range. Good support play from Taylor turned an exciting passage of play into points before tour captain and England Counties stalwart Hall scored the final try. Johnson completed a successful evening from the tee by kicking his tenth conversion.
England play Belgium in the main Test in Tubize on Sunday (June 16, kick-off 3pm BST).
Scorers: Johnson 1P 10C 1T, Cheshire 2T, Codlin 1T, Hallam 1T, Taylor 2T, Harris 1T, Wearmouth 1T, Hall 1T (+1 PT)