Australian Schoolboys start tour with a win

The Australian Schoolboys kicked off their tour of England and France with a comprehensive victory over the England Combined Regional Academies at Derwent Park, Workington on Wednesday evening.

Sydney Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell picked up a hat-trick of tries to add to a brace of tries each from Brock Lamb (Newcastle Knights) and Tevita Cottrell (South Sydney Rabbitohs).

Nine other Australian players got on the scoresheet with Workington Town full-back Theerapol Ritson scoring the Academy team’s only try of the evening.

Despite the defeat, Combined Regional Academies coach Dave Clark said there were plenty of positives to take out of the game which saw the North West, North East and Midlands Academies combine for an historic fixture.

“I can’t fault the boys at all,” said Clark. “There were a lot of positives. We had two great camps and they gave their best.

“There were no heads down and no fault in effort at all. Our bench players wanted to get back on the field, which was pleasing to see. They could have easily sit down and not bothered, so it shows the character of the players and they were really keen to get out there and have this experience.

“Our two props were 17-years-old, we had players from the Midlands and North East which are regions which are not famous for Rugby League. But this is what the regional Academies are all about. It’s a big achievement for them. We are reaching our targets with players going on to play at a higher level.

“It’s something the players will never forget, it was a great opportunity for them to play against the Australian kids. And it’s a great reward for the three regions to come together and make history playing a game against a touring side.”

Australia took an early lead 6-0 lead through Lamb before Ritson replied as he was fastest to react to his own grubber kick on the last tackle.

The Academies faced a major setback as captain Brandon Moore of Castleford Tigers was forced off with an ankle injury after just four minutes and any momentum the home side wanted to build on was short-lived as Australia scored quick-fire tries to go ahead once more.

Cottrell scored twice with Jayden Brailey, Jack Cogger, Mitchell and John Olive adding to their tally to make it 38-6 at half-time.

Hame Sele scored in the first few minutes of the second half as the Schoolboys limited any opportunities for the Academies to gain any sort of foothold.

Lamb picked up his second of the evening and this was quickly followed by Mitchell’s second and third tries as the centre completed his hat-trick.

Substitute Jacob Liddle, full-back Gideon Gela, Keegan Yorston, Joe Hambley and Nat Butcher each added tries to cap what was a dominant Schoolboys display.

The Schoolboys will face Wigan Warriors Academy on Saturday November 29 at Solid Strip Community Stadium, Wigan, and Leeds Rhinos Academy at Headingley Stadium, Leeds on Tuesday December 2.

They will then play England’s Academy in two Test fixtures at Leigh Sports Village, Leigh on Saturday December 6 and Friday December 12 before travelling to France to play two fixtures to end their tour.