England have registered a convincing 30-10 victory over Samoa at Campbelltown Stadium today, taking a 14-0 lead and always looking in command to justify the decision to take the England squad for a mid-season Test match in Australia.
They had a great start to the match, with a strong tackle by Elliott Whitehead forcing a Samoan error in the first set. A James Graham offload created the play for Ryan Hall to score out wide andLuke Gale’s conversion made it 6-0 after three minutes.
Gale added a penalty in the 29th minute and scored their second try two minutes before half-time when Gale put fullback Stefan Ratchford into a gap and he sidestepped Samoan fullback Peter Mata’utia to score under the posts.
Samoa’s attacking game had been muted in the first half, but they struck back early in the second, when Joey Leilua used his size and strength to barge over from close range for a try that was approved by the bunker and which energised the largely Samoan 18,271 crowd.
But the English remained calm, and good work by Brown and Gale split Samoa up the middle, with Josh Hodgson backing up to score under the posts. Gale’s conversion restored the 14-point gap.
Anthony Milford scored a try from close range, however, although he couldn’t convert his own try.
England confirmed their superiority with two tries in the final ten minutes, with both created by Brown, giving a short pass to James Grahamand then putting in a beautifully weighted short kick that was picked up by Jermaine McGillvary to score a try on the final hooter.
England: 1. Stefan Ratchford 2. Jermain McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. Zak Hardaker 5. Ryan Hall 6. Kevin Brown 7. Luke Gale 8. Sam Burgess 9. Josh Hodgson 10. James Graham 11. Michael Meeken 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Sean O’Loughlin (c); Interchange: 14. Chris Hill 15. Chris Heighington 16. Chris McQueen 17. Tom Burgess
Tries: Hall, Ratchford, Hodgson, Graham, McGillvary; Goals: Gale 5
Samoa: 1. Peter Mata’utia 2. Ken Maumalo 3. Joey Leilua 4. Tim Lafai 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Anthony Milford 7. Fa’amanu Brown 8. Sam Kasiano 15 Suaia Matagi 10. Junior Paulo 11. Sione Mata’utia 12. Leeson Ah Mau 13. Josh McGuire; Interchange): 14. John Asiata 16. Sauaso Sue, 17. Herman Ese’ese 19 Pita Godinet
Tries: Leilua, Milford; Goal: Milford
A full report, photos, reaction and comment will feature in Monday’s League Express