- England Counties beat Belgium 57-5
- Six tries before half time put Belguim out of reach
Sean Taylor took his tour total to four tries on Sunday (June 16) touching down twice as England Counties recorded an impressive win over Belgium in Tubize.
The Preston Grasshopper scored twice from full-back on Wednesday as England beat Belgium A 78-0 and continued to demonstrate effective support play and fine finishing in the main Test.
Six tries before the break from the visitors put the game out of reach Belgium despite their powerful pack finding form in the second period.
Counties Team Manager Michael Old said: “We’re really pleased with how the week has gone, the boys deserve enormous credit for not only buying into collective goals, but also for putting in two very good performances at the end of a long domestic season.
“We knew that Belgium were going to want to take us on up front but we managed to match their physicality and create space for the guys out wide who played some excellent rugby. The Belgians have been wonderful hosts and its been another very successful trip both on and off the field."
Ollie Thomas was the first to put points on the board with an early penalty before the Moseley and North Midlands fly-half orchestrated the first two tries.
His darting run set up Chris Harris for the opener before a switch with Fylde and Lancashire play-maker Chris Johnson created the overlap for Taylor to score in the corner.
With replacement Belgium hooker Julien Massimi sent to the sin bin, the visitors relentlessly ploughed forward earning a penalty try just before the hour to extend the lead to 22-0.
Jim Wigglesworth’s 40 metre run gained territory and put Taylor in for his second. The Cambridge and Yorkshire youngster then showed his international quality as he set-up Johnson for try number five before nudging the ball into space for Tom Stradwick to gather. The Blackheath flanker outstripped the cover to send the Counties into the break with a 43-0 lead.
Belgium, backed by a strong crowd in sun-lit Tubize, went immediately in search of a response post interval and were rewarded through flanker Neil Andrew who crashed over from close range.
The points spurred the Black Devils into action and bolstered by the introduction of seasoned internationals Maxime Jadot and Cyril Nana, they tested the English up front and enjoyed decent possession.
As the contest between the packs continued space opened up for both sides, but it was the Counties who had the final say. Wigglesworth capped off an outstanding performance with five points of his own and Cheshire back-row Harry Broadbent emerged from the back of a maul to touch down as the whistle blew.
Reflecting on the tour, double try scorer Taylor said: “It’s been amazing to come out here and represent England. The rugby we have played highlights the serious amount of quality in the National Leagues and it’s been a beneficial learning curve for the younger guys.
“Belgium are a good team with recent exposure at a high level so we knew we’d be made to work hard. To score tries as a wing is always nice, but some of the boys have been incredible since we got together, I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on to even bigger things.
“From a personal point of view, the experience has really developed my game but the activities off the field have been just as special – no one’s ever asked for my autograph after a game, that’s something I will always remember!”
England Counties XV:
15. Chris Harris (Tynedale & Northumberland)
14. Sean Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers & Lancashire)
13. Chris Johnson (Fylde & Lancashire)
12. Rhys Owen (Loughborough Students & North Midlands)
11. Jim Wigglesworth (Cambridge & Yorkshire)
10. Ollie Thomas (Moseley & North Midlands)
9. Matt Heeks (Rosslyn Park & Eastern Counties)
1. Robbie Kalbraier (Blaydon & Northumberland)
2. Matt Hall (Blaydon & Northumberland) (C)
3. Mark George (Stourbridge & Gloucestershire)
4. Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon & Durham)
5. Ben Hilton (Launceston & Cornwall)
6. Tom Stradwick (Blackheath & Kent)
7. James Lindfield (Blackheath & Kent)
8. Adam Kettle (Doncaster Knights & Cheshire)
16. Darren Jacques (Redruth & Cornwall) Kalbraier, 60 mins
17. Mike Hill (Birmingham Bees & North Midlands) George, 47 mins
18. Brett McNamee (Old Albanian & Hertfordshire) Hall, 60 mins
19. Royce Cadman (Hull Ionians & Yorkshire) Wearmouth, 41mins
20. Harry Broadbent (Caldy & Cheshire) Kettle, 60 mins
21. Chris Hallam (Doncaster Knights & Yorkshire) Harris, 68 mins
22. Heath Stevens (Plymouth Albion & East Midlands) Owen, 41 mins
23. Nevaro Codlin (Cinderford & Gloucestershire) Taylor, 47 mins
Scorers: Thomas 1P & 7C, Taylor 2T, Harris 1T, Johnson 1T, Wigglesworth 1T, Stradwick 1T, Broadbent 1T, 1 PenT
Belgium XV:15. Paul Henri Nghange
14. Elliot Van Trappen
13. Thibaut Andre
12. Guillaume Brebant
11. Frederic Ronge
10 Sebastien Guns
9. Simon Marote
1. Norman Wende
2. Raphael Olive
3. Jerome Wey
4. Matthieu Verschelden
5. Pierre Hendrickx
6. Andrew Neil (C)
7. Julien Morelli
8.Thomas De Molder
16 Maxime Jadot
17. Nicolas Fernandez
18. Julien Massimi
19. Cyril Nana
20. Michael De Molder
21. Denis Eppe
22. Kevin Williams
23. Antoine Duchenne
Scorers: Neil 1T