Words: Ian Golden, Pic: Ian Lovell
England produced a solid start to their Student Four Nations defence when they saw off Ireland 46-0 in the opening match in Pontypridd on Sunday afternoon.
Ireland started well and nearly scored, Ellis Keppel was held up over the line. However, the momentum went England’s way after Jamie Gill was yellow carded for dissent.
Just before he came back on, England took the lead on 14 minutes with a Luke Phoenix try in the corner. Jack Mallinson converted.
They doubled their lead from kick-off. Joe Riley raced away and placed the ball just left of the sticks and Mallinson converted.
As thunder boomed from the sky, former Hull KR centre Joe Wardill twisted over for England’s third try, scored on 24 minutes, which went unconverted and they led 16-0 at the break.
Six minutes into the second half, Mallinson crossed for England’s fourth try of the game. Joe Riley added the next with Mallinson again improving.
England went down to 12 after Christian Gale was sinbinned but it didn’t make any difference.
Nathan Rushworth went in under the sticks with seven minutes remaining for England’s sixth, with Mallinson easily landing the kick.
Jake Lightowler soon added their seventh with Mallinson again kicking well to bring up 40.
Nathan Redmond sprinted over 50 metres for a try in the final move of the game with Mallinson again converting.
The later game saw Scotland just as easily overcome Wales, winning 60-10, inflicting a record Four Nations defeat on the Welsh.
Jonny Hutton ran through a gap to give Scotland the lead in the fifth minute. Luke Punton couldn’t land the kick.
Four minutes later, it was same player, same position and Scotland were 8-0 up. Punton converted.
Wales struck back in the 16th minute. Iestyn Milburn got on the end of a good passing move to score in the corner. Ryan Griffiths’ conversion attempt was short.
Sadly the game was stopped just before the half hour mark as a spectator in the grandstand fell ill and both teams’ medics needed to treat her before the ambulance came. Everyone at Wales Rugby League and in the Student Rugby League Four Nations competition wishes the spectator a speedy recovery.
When the match got back underway, nearly half an hour later, Pete Burns ran over for Scotland’s third try and Punton converted.
From kick-off, Hutton ran under the sticks to complete his hat-trick. Punton easily converted and Scotland were 22-4 up at half-time.
It took just eight seconds for Scotland to add to their lead when Fergus Simpson leapt onto the ball after the Wales players all missed it from kick-off. The try went unconverted.
Wales narrowed the gap again when Joe Reardon scored in the corner. Shane Lee converted.
Straight away, Scotland addressed the balance when Burns ran over for his second of the game, and it really became Burns’ night when he soon completed his hat-trick and then ran over for a fourth. Punton converted all three.
Ollie Rees charged down the wing for Scotland’s next try. This time Punton failed to convert but his side were now 48-10 up.
Punton created the next try. He had three players supporting him and he chose Cameron McDonald for his pass and the centre brought up the 50. Simpson converted.
Burns completed proceedings by scoring his fifth try of the game. McDonald converted to bring up 60 points.
2023 Student Four Nations Table