- Counties run in four tries in impressive win over strong Romania side
- Victory follows on from Friday’s success against club side CSM Bucuresti
England Counties secured an impressive 28-20 victory over Romania A to complete a highly successful summer tour.
Following Friday’s 28-16 win over club side CSM Bucuresti, last night’s meeting at the Stadionul National with a Romania A side, made up of a mix of under-23 and senior players, represented a step up in class.
But England Counties proved they were more than up to the challenge running in four tries courtesy of Durham’s Chris Wearmouth, Cornwall duo Matt Shepherd and Ben Hilton, and Hertfordshire’s Henry Robinson.
Team Manager Matt Long said: “They were fairly physical opponents, as expected. This was originally billed as a game against Romania U23, but in the end they only had four people under 23 and the rest was a fairly strong senior side. They brought quite a bit of physicality and were a solid team.
“It was a difficult one to predict because we had so many new guys in the squad who were untested at this level. To put those guys together and get the win on Friday and follow up with a win against a national side was phenomenal, and testament to the good work of the coaches.”
Romania started the game the stronger of the two sides, notching up a converted try and a penalty to run up an early 10-0 lead. But the Counties rallied, Wearmouth going in under the posts to set up a simple conversion for Shepherd and close the gap to 10-7 by the break.
The visitors started with more confidence in the second half, putting some good phases of play together. And, after some sustained pressure, they were rewarded when Shepherd managed to go over wide on the right before kicking a superb conversion.
But, just as they were beginning to build up some momentum, the Counties suffered a blow when Lancashire openside flanker Evan Stewart was yellow carded. The hosts made the most of their extra man, applying heavy pressure from a scrum, with their powerful front row driving forward and forcing a penalty try, which was converted to see them lead 17-14.
However, England’s response was swift, with Cornwall lock Ben Hilton adding his side’s third try of the evening and county colleague Shepherd adding yet another conversion.
Romania refused to buckle and kicked another penalty to close the gap to one. With their big pack dominating some tight exchanges, the home side were given two further penalty opportunities but spurned both.
And they were made to pay as England added a late try to make the win safe, Hertfordshire’s Henry Robinson touching down after a terrific driving maul and drive over from close to the line. Shepherd again applied the extras to complete the tour on a high point.
1. Matthew Beesley (Wharefdale and Cheshire)
2. Brett McNamee (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)
3. Stephen Johnson (Hull Ionians and Yorkshire)
4. Christopher Wearmouth (Blaydon and Durham)
5. Ben Hilton (Launceston and Cornwall)
6. Keith Laughlin (Blaydon and Northumberland, captain)
7. Evan Stewart (Fylde and Yorkshire)
8. Gavin Jones (Blaydon and Yorkshire).
9. Matthew Shepherd (Launceston and Cornwall)
10. Mike Wilcox (Cinderford and Gloucestershire)
11. Nevaro Codlin (Coney Hill and Gloucestershire)
12. Sebastian Rodwell (London Irish Wild Geese and Gloucestershire)
13. Sam Winter (Bishop's Stortford and Hertfordshire)
14. Leo Fielding (Cinderford and Gloucestershire)
15. Henry Robinson (Darlington Mowden Park and Hertfordshire).
16. Samuel Wilkes (Cinderford and Gloucestershire)
17. Andrew Berry (Old Albanians and Hertfordshire)
18. David Laverick (Hull Ionians and Yorkshire)
19. George Oram (Blackheath and Kent)
20. Harry Bate (Blaydon and Northumberland)
21. Alex Gallagher (Blackheath and Kent)
22. Albert Portsmouth (Cambridge and Eastern Counties)
23. William Crow (Dorking and Surrey).