- Cooper-Millar’s late try seals win
- Counties complete successful trip
Photo: Tamuna Kulumbegashvili
England Counties XV held their nerve to beat Emerging Georgia 15-14 with a last-minute try from flanker Ollie Cooper-Milar at the Rustavi Stadium in Tblisi today.
The win followed a 48-23 win over Emerging Georgia in last Wednesday’s tour opener and came after two one-point defeats by France Federale and Ireland Club XV earlier in the season.
While Emerging Georgia were able to re-inforce their side for the tour finale, the Counties XV lost three players – Will Radburn, Jesse Liston and Lewis Vinnicombe – to injuries and they had to fly out Blaydon and Yorkshire forward Gavin Jones to replace Tom Stradwick (Kent and Blackheath) whose tour was ended by a back complaint.
Jones, who arrived in Tblisi on Saturday, was used as a second half replacement and made his presence felt to help the Counties to victory in heavy rain.
Despite another try from wing Jim Wigglesworth (Cambridge and Yorkshire), his fifth in the two matches on tour, and a conversion and penalty from fly-half Lawrence Rayner (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire) the Counties XV were 14-10 as they clock ran down.
But Cooper-Millar was driven over for the winning try from a driving line-out with almost the final play of the match to complete a successful tour for the Counties XV, the flagship team of the community game in England.
“The Georgians brought a few new players in which made a big difference and they were tough to break down,” said Matt Long, the England Counties XV manager.
“They were very physical again and the weather deteriorated during the game which meant that there were more mistakes, more scrums and that made it more difficult for us to break them down.
“But our replacements made a big impact when they came on, we stuck to our task well and Ollie got over from what was virtually the last play of the match.
“We’ve lost a couple of matches by a point this season and the England Counties Under-20s were also beaten by a point by Georgia a couple of weeks ago so it’s nice to win a tight one.”
15 Sean Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers and Lancashire)
14 Jim Wigglesworth (Cambridge and Yorkshire)
13 Cameron Mitchell (Darlington Mowden Park and Durham)
12 Seb Rodwell (Hartpury College and Gloucestershire)
11 Nev Codlin (Cinderford and Gloucestershire)
10 Lawrence Rayner (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)
9 Joe Bedford (Sandal and Yorkshire)
1 Richard List (Doncaster and Yorkshire)
2 James Salter (Redruth and Cornwall)
3 Steve Johnson (Hull Ionians and Yorkshire)
4 Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon and Durham)
5 Ben Hilton (Launceston and Cornwall, captain)
6 Harry Broadbent (Rosslyn Park and Cheshire)
7 Ollie Cooper-Millar (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)
8 Billy Johnson (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)
Replacements: Jamal Ford-Robinson (Cambridge and Cornwall), Tom Mantell (Macclesfield and Cheshire), Sean Edwards (Bishops Stortford and Hertfordshire), Keith Laughlin Blaydon and Northumberland), Gavin Jones (Blaydon and Yorkshire), Rhodri Adamson (Winchester, Newcastle University and Northumberland), Mike Wilcox (Cinderford and Gloucestershire), Markus Burcham (Blackheath and Kent).