England hearts were broken at South Leeds Stadium last night as a 24 point blitz in 17 minutes either side of half time ensured the visiting Australian Institue of Sport team victory in this clash.|
England, with the wind at their backs, took an early 12 point lead, first James Archibald went in at the corner after good work from Danny Houghton and then after good handling from the English backs Liam Whelan went in at the corner. Joe Westerman converted both superbly from the touchline.
The AIS struck back just before half time when Galu Teo fielded Houghton's high kick on his own goal line, rounded the English cover before going up the right hand touchline to score. Cronin's kick was off target but it gave the tourists hope going into the break.
Then came the blitz, 4 tries in the opening 14 minutes of the second half put the game out of England's reach. On their first possession of the second half, Anthony Mitchell sneaked over from dummy half, then Sam Joe went in after a Cronin 40-20. Then Cronin put Zac Merritt though a huge gap to go over and the misery was compounded a poor kick from Danny Houghton went into the hands of Dan Mortimer and he was in untouched from 80 metres. Ben Cronin converted 2 of the tries to put the AIS 24-12 in front.
England rallied and struck back with two quick tries of their own, first Liam Welham went in for his second try of the night after good work by halfbacks Kyle Eastmond and Houghton. The Liam Farrell released James Archibald up the right wing and Kyle Eastmond was on hand to go in by the posts, crucially Westerman could only convert one of the tries and England were still 2 points adrift.
England searched for the score to put them back in front but it was the AIS who struck next, the ball moved left and Zac Russ found the gap to go over. Cronin made it an 8 point game with the conversion before Dan Mortimer completed the scoring with a penalty in the last minute of the game to give the AIS a 32-22 victory.
Good game of football in difficult conditions, a high error count and the slow start to the second half proving costly to the English effort. England didn't make enough of the wind behind them in the first half and blew opportunities to score. Credit to the Australians, they deserved their success. They has a little more speed than the English players and this told in the final analysis.
England: 1. Scott Yates; 2. James Archibald (T), 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Larne Patrick, 5. Liam Welham (2T); 6. Danny Houghton, 7. Kyle Eastmond (T); 8. Mike Burnett, 9. Ben Kaye, 10. Lee Mossop, 11. Lee MItchell, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Joe Westerman (3G); 14. Ben Jones, 15. Danny Allan, 16. Nathan Armitage, 17. Brett Robinson
AIS: 1. Zac Russ (T); 2. Galu Teo (T), 3. Ben Jones, 4. Sam Joe (T), 5. William Isa; 6.Ben Cronin (3G), 7. Dan Mortimer (T,G); 8. Ilisa Rulan, 9. Joel Romelo, 10. John Mannah, 11. Blake Gallen, 12. Billy Roses, 13. Kale Markelo; 14. Anthony Mitchell (T), 15. Gerrard Tibb, 16. Fred Tila, 17. Zac Merritt (T)
Referee: Jamie Leahy