10 October 2008 • KO 20:00
74 v 0
Eco-Power Stadium, Doncaster
Referee : Steve Ganson
By Ian Golden
At whatever level and in whatever sport the game is played, to face England is one of the pinnacles of any Welshman's sporting career.
No more so than rugby league right now. Gone are the days when Wales had to bring in a multitude of union imports, now the game has solid junior foundations in Wales and this was proved on Friday night as Wales fielded nine players aged under 22, six of whom were making their senior debut.
Wales' last victory against England at this level was back in 1995 when current Crusaders and Wales assistant coach Kevin Ellis was man of the match in an 18-16 thriller at Ninian Park.
However at most other levels of rugby league it has been Wales who have been the dominant force and, thanks to injuries to nine first choice Welshmen, many of those young success stories were rewarded this evening with their first full international call up.
The passion of the Welsh side was evident even before the kick-off as EVERY member of the Welsh playing and coaching staff, including Australian coach John Dixon, accurately belted out "Mae hen wlad fy nhadau" with the enthusiasm that our great national anthem deserves.
However passion doesn't win matches and England's experience proved too much for Wales' youth as they went down 74-0 in a rugby league lesson at the Keepmoat Stadium that was watched by 11,263, the second highest attendance of an England v Wales match since 1991.
New skipper David Mills was centimetres from crossing the English line in the first five minutes but was stopped short, and as they regained possession, England made their chance count as Rob Purdham left Dave Halley for dead, easing his way over the line to score on six minutes and convert his own try.
Halley made up for his earlier error picking up a Richard Myler grubber to prevent a further early try.
However full-back Shaun Briscoe extended England's lead on the quarter-hour as he broke through the centre to score under the sticks. Purdham had an easy kick to make the score 12-0.
Paul Sykes charged down the wing from kick-off for a third try while a Martin Gleeson effort in the opposite corner made the score 20-0 despite the efforts of Halley who almost forced him into touch.
By the 23rd minute it was starting to get embarrassing. Gleeson had a number of choices of who to set up for the fifth try. He chose Pudham who in turn passed to Myler who went in under the sticks. Purdham converted.
Even when Wales entered English territory they couldn't make chances count. Sean Penkywicz's hopeful grubber resulting in nothing and straight from the restart, Paul Sykes ran the length of the field to ground.
England carried on. Myler set up Gleeson and despite the strong suspicion of a forward pass, England had scored their seventh try of the evening.
When Wales finally crossed the line, they were robbed of their points by a strange decision from video referee Ashley Klein.
One of the six survivors from the last time that Wales faced England in 2003, Celtic Crusaders centre Aled James, was the man who "scored" on 36 minutes. Wales had even lined up for the conversion but Klein disallowed the try for an England knock on and strangely gave the robbed Welsh a scrum attack. Even England coach Tony Smith was shaking his head in disgust at the decision which bemused the entire ground.
Debutant Rhys Williams could have scored from the scrum which would have been justice, but his inexperience got the better of him and he failed to overcome Peter Fox on the England line.
And the home side made them pay as Mark
Calderwood ran over with Purdham converting to make the half-time score 42-0.
England started as they left off, substitute Tony Clubb, with his first touch of the ball, crossing within a minute of the restart. Gareth Hock quickly followed him over.
Wales were again denied of a try by the video referee on 48 minutes. This time however there could be no argument as former skipper Damien Gibson was certainly forced into touch by Michael Shenton.
From the restart, another England try, Briscoe setting up Myler under the sticks.
Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook made it a great night for Harlequins as he went over on 55.
Briscoe went in under the sticks with Purdham converting to make the score 70-0.
The loudest cheer of the night was reserved for Jordan James who picked up a loose ball to look like he'd scored. But once again the video referee was Wales' worst enemy as he disallowed the try, this time for offside.
Fox went over in the corner for England to complete the rout with a minute remaining.
It was said before the match that Wales were building for the future. Well the foundations are certainly there which has been proven with those Welsh championship wins at under 18 and A level, and coach John Dixon now knows that there is a lot of construction work to be done if our senior side is to dominate again.
Team Lists and Scoring Information
|10||David Mills (c)|
|6||0 - 4||Rob Purdham||England||Try|
|7||0 - 6||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|15||0 - 10||Shaun Briscoe||England||Try|
|16||0 - 12||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|18||0 - 16||Paul Sykes||England||Try|
|19||0 - 18||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|21||0 - 22||Martin Gleeson||England||Try|
|22||0 - 24||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|23||0 - 28||Richard Myler||England||Try|
|29||0 - 32||Paul Sykes||England||Try|
|32||0 - 36||Martin Gleeson||England||Try|
|39||0 - 40||Mark Calderwood||England||Try|
|40||0 - 42||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|41||0 - 46||Tony Clubb||England||Try|
|42||0 - 48||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|45||0 - 52||Gareth Hock||England||Try|
|46||0 - 54||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|49||0 - 58||Richard Myler||England||Try|
|50||0 - 60||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|55||0 - 64||Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook||England||Try|
|65||0 - 68||Shaun Briscoe||England||Try|
|66||0 - 70||Rob Purdham||England||Conversion|
|79||0 - 74||Peter Fox||England||Try|