England 40 Tonga 18


England stayed on course for a place in the Federation Shield final with an impressive seven-try win over Tonga.

Leeds centre Ashley Gibson scored twice while Jamie Rooney, Rob Purdham, Mark Calderwood, Chris Ashton and Lee Smith also went over.

Tonga forwards Richard Fa'aoso and Taniela Tuiaki gave England some anxious moments in the opening half.

But Paul Cullen's side pulled clear in the third quarter as they claimed their second win in the competition.

England raced into an early 10-0 lead with Paul Cooke setting up half-back partner Rooney and man of the match Brett Ferres doing the same for Gibson.

Fa'aoso and Tuiaki kept their side in contention with solo tries, both converted by former London Broncos stand-off Feleti Mateo, before half-time.

But Gibson added his second try after 29 minutes, courtesy of neat handling from Matt Diskin and David Hodgson, and Rooney kicked his second conversion.

England stretched their advantage just after the break when Purdham pounced on a defensive mistake to score.

Winger Mark Calderwood, who scored two tries in last weekend's win over France, raced onto a delicate kick by Ferres for his side's fifth try.

Haumono delighted the Tongan followers among the crowd at the Stoop with a barnstorming run that brought him a consolation try.

But England had the final say through Ashton and Smith with Rooney taking his goal tally to six.

England coach Paul Cullen said "It's a very exciting competition and I'm delighted to be part of it.

"We lacked a bit of composure not because we had players who panicked but because the Tongans hit us very hard. Every time we made a mistake they punished us.

"It was a very proud defensive effort by the Tongans. They knocked us about a bit but our guys took it and ran up a very decent score."

England: (16) 40 Tries: Rooney, Gibson (2), Purdham, Calderwood, Ashton, Smith Goals: Rooney (6)

Tonga: (12) 18 Tries: Fa'aoso, Tuiaki, Haumono Goals: Mateo (3)

England: Smith, Hodgson, Purdham, Gibson, Calderwood, Cooke, Rooney, Crabtree, Diskin, Dowes, Radford, Jones-Buchanan, Ferres. Replacements: Ashton, Cook, Scruton, Bailey.

Tonga: Talamoa, Uisele, Emilio, Richter, Smith, A. Mateo, Taufa'ao, Haumono, L. Paea, Moamoa, L. Paea, Fa'aoso, Tupou. Replacements: M. Paea, Tuiaki, Tamoa, Uasi.

Referee: T Alidert (France)

Source: bbc.co.uk