England Academy suffered an agonising 22-20 defeat against the Australian Institute of Sport at Leigh Sports Village Stadium on Sunday.
Despite putting in a good performance, running in four tries, England couldn’t capitalise on a number of second half chances to win the game.
In a hard fought encounter, Australia opening the scoring within five minutes through Jarrod Watson. Doug Hewitt converted the try to take the tourists into an early six point lead. England responded positively and got their reward when James Duckworth went over for the hosts followed by a James Percival try to take the Academy in 8 -6 at half time. Australia regained the lead early in the second half when Alexi Falepaini scored after good work from Doug Hewitt. England then thought they had scored through captain John Bateman, only for the try to be ruled out for a forward pass. Australia capitalised on this decision scoring through captain Rhett Webster before England hit back when Bateman touched down following a blistering run. Williams added the extras to take the scores to bring England within two points of the visitors at 14-16.
In a thrilling finale to the match, Ado Waianga seemed to have secured victory for Australia when he collected a high kick and went over, however, Greg Wilde immediately responded for England to take the scores to 22-20 to the tourists. Unfortunately this proved to be the last action of the match as England slipped to a narrow defeat.
Speaking after the match, head coach, Dave Elliott, said: “It was a great effort from the boys. There were some outstanding individual performances in our side but we made a few errors and collectively at times we just couldn’t get over the line and you pay for that at this level.
“In the end their experience told and they held on for the win but we know where we went wrong and what we could have done better so now we’ll go away and work on that and look to improve.”