2018 PREVIEW 🔍 Perennial underachievers? Our fifteenth preview is here. Andrew Ferguson assesses whe...
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England ran in 11 tries as they demolished a poor France 60-6 at Leigh Sporting Village over the weekend.
New England Coach Steve McNamara's gave a debut to Melbourne Storm fullback Gareth Widdop, understudy to Australian fullback Billy Slater, and he repaid him immediately by opening the scoring inside two minutes. On 14 minutes a high ball caused confusion in the French defence and Tom Briscoe was on hand to score.
Minutes later some neat footwork by Widdop set up Wigan's Sam Tomkins as England increased their lead. France hit back and opened their account thanks to a penalty conceded by England captain Jamie Peacock and Remy Casty offloaded for Andrew Bentley to score a try converted by Gregory Mounis.
In the last minutes of the half Sam Tomkins stood out first he took a pass from his brother Joel to duck over and then he added two more before the break to equal the English record of four individual tries in a game, as the hosts went into the break with a commanding 34-6 lead.
The French showed more resolve after the re-start as England became a bit ragged but they soon got back into the swing of things as Adrian Morley made a break to release Sam Tomkins but as the defenders loomed, he passed the ball out wide to Michael Shenton to score his first try for his country.
On 68 minutes, France were reduced to twelve men when Constant Villegas was sin-binned for tripping Chris Bridge. With a one man advantage England racked in the points as the floodgates opened.
Wests Tigers player Gareth Ellis helped himself to a double in the last ten minutes of the game; Bride added another before Shenton rounded things with England's eleventh try of the game.
Despite the easy win, England coach McNamara has been given plenty to think about ahead of this autumn's Four Nations series in Australia and New Zealand where England will face much sterner challenges.
Tries: S Tomkins 4, Shenton 2, Ellis 2, Widdop, Briscoe, Bridge
Goals: Sinfield 6, Widdop 2
Goals: Mounis 1
Referee: Leon Williamson (New Zealand)
England: Widdop (Melbourne), Briscoe (Hull FC), Bridge (Warrington), Shenton (Castleford), Hall (Leeds), Brown (Huddersfield), S Tomkins (Wigan), Graham (St Helens), Sinfield (Leeds), Peacock (capt, Leeds), Ellis (Wests Tigers), Burgess (South Sydney), O'Loughlin (Wigan). Subs: Roby (St Helens), Morley (Warrington), Westwood (Warrington), J Tomkins (Wigan).
France: Villegas, Piquemal, Gossard, Raguin, Vaccari, Gigot, Munoz, Ferriol, Mounis, Casty, Elima, Fakir, Bentley. Subs: Barthau, Griffi, Simon, Touxagas.