England Academy coach John Winder has challenged his young stars to raise the bar even higher when they face Wales Academy in the second junior Test at Taffs Wells RFC near Cardiff on Friday night.
The English youngsters delivered an impressive display to defeat their Welsh counterparts 38-0 in the opening fixture at the same venue on Sunday when Winder was full of praise for the outstanding efforts by a team featuring eight players with Super League experience.
“They were very good on Sunday in a tough match played in tough conditions,” said Winder. “We had to be patient in breaking them down – it took 20 minutes before we scored a first point.
“They are all good England Academy players in their own right but you could tell who had played in Super League, especially with the type of game that we played.
“Our players had to be patient and show composure in difficult conditions. That level of experience was needed as it took a while to break them down.
“To nil your opponents in any Rugby League match is a great achievement. It was really hard for them in that match and I am very proud. The challenge for them now is to step it up even further on Friday night.”
Friday’s match kicks off at 6.30pm and Winder wants his players to be even more ruthless.
“They need to show an ability to battle, to rise to one challenge, to realise what they have done successfully and then show the desire to replicate what they have achieved,” said Winder.
“We have had a very good time in our training camp. We had three good days’ training leading up to the first match and our preparations have stepped up already with the second Test in mind.
“For a few of these lads it is their first time away from home in a prolonged camp. They have to deal with change, even down to things like a change in food and scenery, but the older ones have helped the new members settle and they have all settled in nicely.
“That is the luxury of players coming into camp – you can learn about the characters of your players.”
England Academy squad in Wales (professional and community clubs in brackets):
Ben Austin (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Jordan Baldwinson (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Warriors)
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Lewis Charnock (St Helens, Rylands)
Jake Connor (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal)
Nathan Conroy (Bradford Bulls, West Bowling)
Tyler Dickinson (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal)
Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Ryan Hampshire (Wigan Warriors, Normanton)
Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Toby King (Warrington Wolves, Meltham All Black)
Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal)
Rob Lever (Wigan Warriors, Bold Miners)
Alex Mellor (Bradford Bulls, King Cross Park)
Ryan Sutton (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors, Orrel St James)
Jansin Turget (Hull FC, West Hull)
Bobby Tyson-Wilson (Hull FC, West Hull)
Tom Walker (Warrington Wolves, Cockermouth Titans)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)