- Four tries sink Wales Students
- “This is a great result” – England Students skipper George Messum
England Students beat Wales Students 26-16 on Friday evening at Iffley Road, Oxford in their final game of the season.
Wales opened the scoring with a penalty off the restart as England were deemed offside. Jack Maynard (Cardiff Metropolitan) stepped up and the fly half calmly put the ball between the uprightsfor a 3-0 lead.
England had a chance to address the difference soon after as Wales infringed. England captain George Messum (Loughborough University) looked to send a message early on and went for the corner but the ball was spilled.
Wales made the most of this let-off and started to apply pressure of their own, linking phases well and eventually winning another penalty. Maynard went for goal and gave Wales a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes.
England looked determined to get a grip of the game, Hartpury centre Sebastian Rodwell barrelling through the midfield and into the Welsh 22. This pressure paid off as Wales gave away a penalty and England fly half Mark Cooke (Cardiff Metropolitan) had his first shot at goal.
The fly half was unable to claim the three points but after a sliced clearance from Wales, England were still deep in the opposition’s territory. England looked to their driving maul off the lineout, allowing Josh Walker (Cardiff Metropolitan) to crash over for the first try of the day after fifteen minutes. Cooke added the extras and England took a 7-6 lead.
Wales reclaimed the lead soon after though, Maynard's third penalty making it 9-7. England claimed the ball off the restart, and debutant Jacob Fields (Loughborough University) carried well, forcing the penalty. England look to their maul once more and went for the lineout but another chance went begging as Wales turned it over and clear their lines.
As the first half drew to a close England were beginning to show some dominance. Strong carries off the base of the scrum from Bath University No.8 Freddie Clarke and some big hits from Matthew Beesley (Leeds Metropolitan) and Jake Henry (Cardiff Metropolitan) saw Wales start to creak under the pressure, resulting in a yellow card for Wales scrum half Josh Guy (Swansea University).
Despite coming close through Murray Galbraith-Lowe (Durham University) England were unable to turn this pressure into points first half came to a close with Wales still ahead.
England continued to look dominant as the second half got underway. On several occasions the English backline linked well, creating space, only for the final pass to go to ground.
Then the breakthrough came on the 50th minute. Guy Wood (Cardiff Metropolitan) broke through to draw the last defender and set Josh Walker up for his second of the night, the lock running it in from 15 yards. Cooke added the extras and England were ahead 14-9.
Ten minutes later England scored again. This time Ben Axten-Burrett (Cardiff Metropolitan) powered through the Welsh defence to cross the whitewash. Cooke landed the conversion for a 21-9 advantage.
England’s indiscipline was keeping Wales in the game; letting them off the hook on many occasions and allowing to clear their lines and relieve the pressure. In the 52nd minute England’s Alec Clarey (Hartpury) gave away a penalty at the break down and referee Nigel Correll produced a card as the prop, sending the prop to the bin for ten minutes.
Wales looked to make the most of that and had England pinned under their own posts. The men in white were unable to hold out and Wales went over for their first try of the evening through No.8 James Sawyer (Cardiff University). Jack Maynard added the extras to bring the score to 21-16 as we entered the final fifteen minutes.
England played the territory well, and as choruses of Swing Low swelled around Iffley Road England full back Guy Wood sprinted down the wing to claim England’s fourth try on the stroke of full time. Cooke was unable to add the extras but it was immaterial, England coming out of the tough fixture on top.
“This is a great result” skipper George Messum said after the game. “Credit to Wales, they really through the kitchen sink at us.
“We were able to take control in that last 20 and that last try was the icing on the cake.”
“I’m very happy for the boys” Head Coach James Farndon added. “We weren’t as good as we could have been in the first half but we got there in the end.”
This was England’s final fully-capped fixture, after beating Portugal and losing to France Universities last month.
“It has been a good year” Fardon said, reflecting on the season as a whole. “We got two from three, it’s a shame we lost to France but we are happy overall.”
England’s last game, a development fixture against Scotland Students, had to be cancelled and they are currently organising a development game against Wales to be played later in the season.
1. Matthew Beesley (Leeds Metropolitan)
2. Jacob Fields (Loughbrough University)
3. Adam Jamieson (Bath University)
4. Sean Robinson (Durham Univresity)
5. Josh Walker (Cardiff Metropolitan)
6. George Messum (C) (Loughborough University)
7. Tom Hall (Cardiff Metropolitan)
8. Freddie Clarke (Bath University)
9. Rob Coote (Exeter University)
10. Mark Cook (Cardiff Metropolitan)
11. Murray Galbraith-Lowe (Durham University)
12. Ben Axten-Burrett (Cardiff Metropolitan)
13. Sebastian Rodwell (Hartpury College)
14. Jake Henry (Cardiff Metropolitan)
15. Guy Wood (Cardiff Metropolitan)
16. Alec Clarey (Hartpury College) (replaced Adam Jamison, 54mins)
17. Lovejoy Chawatama (UWE, Bristol) (replaced Jacob Fields, 60mins)
18. Nathan Taylor (Hartpury College) (replaced Matthew Beesley, 69mins)
19. Will Witty (Newcastle University) (replaced Josh Walker, 69mins)
20. Ben King (Exeter University) (replaced Freddie Clarke, 70mins)
21. Oliver Claxton (Exeter University) (replaced Rob Coote, 55mins)
22. George Cullen (Newcastle University) (replaced Jake Henry, 66mins)
23. Joe Beckett (Newcastle University) (replaced Murray Galbraith-Lowe, 71mins)