Johnstone shines with debut hat-trick as England eases past France

Tom Johnstone marked his England debut with a stunning first-half hat-trick as Wayne Bennett’s side strolled to a 44-6 victory over France.

The Wakefield winger scored three tries in 21 minutes as a new-look England side featuring eight debutants, provided a glimpse into the future as they hammered an under-strength France outfit.

Johnstone, one of England’s brightest talents, took the opportunity with both hands, leaving Wayne Bennett with plenty to think about ahead of the Test series opener against New Zealand.

It was Tom Burgess who got the ball rolling before Johnstone’s hat-trick, the first being set up by Hull FC’s debuting fullback, Jamie Shaul.

Richie Myler, returning to the England setup, was the next to cross, before Luke Thompson, another debutant, and Elliot Whitehead both scored to establish a 38-0 lead at half-time.

The second half was much more even, with Jake Connor and Theo Fages exchanging tries.

England: Shaul, Johnstone, Lyne, Percival, McGillvary, Myler, Connor, Graham, Hodgson, T Burgess, Holmes, Whitehead, G Burgess. Subs: Milner, Thompson, Mulher, Sutcliffe.

France: Robin, Macron, Gigot, Ader, Miloudi, Fages, Barthau, Belmas, Da Costa, Canet, Jullien, Goudemand, Baitieri. Subs: Marion, Margalet, Vesa, Escamilla.