28 Sep 2015
England claim Euros in dramatic fashion
A dramatic, third try by skipper saw Joe Brown in golden-point extra time saw England defeat World Champions France to lift the 2015 European Wheelchair Rugby League Championship, 28-24, at a packed Medway Arena in Gillingham.
The French, at one stage in the first half, led by ten points in a tough and uncompromising battle, the third of the tournament between the rivals who had a victory each.
The decider was tense throughout, France took an early lead when they capitalised on an England penalty, Mikael Gaune sending in Lionel Alazard out wide.
England responded when Harry Brown put in a delicate kick forward and zipped past two French defenders to just touch down as the dead-ball line loomed.
Gaune then crossed twice in quick succession, his second try following a ball from Laurent Despues before selling a great dummy to Jack Brown to score by the left post.
Jack Brown narrowed the gap to 16-12 at the break, on hand unmarked to capitalise on Wayne Boardman’s kick that cannoned off a post.
Gaune nearly completed his hat trick but as he got over the try line, he knocked the ball on in the process of grounding.
The visitors edged further ahead at the start of the second period when Nicolas Clausells landed a penalty after a Harry Brown double-tap error but the Englishman made up for it, sending brother Jack to the corner who squeezed in and added a terrific touchline conversion to level at 18-all.
Cyril Torres was incensed with the way his team was playing and immediately put himself on and the French captain helped his side retake the lead as the ball was played out to Clausells and he got around Boardman to cross.
England levelled again with less than five minutes to go when local hero Joe Coyd held off Clausells to place the ball over the try line to leave it all-square after the regulation hour.
Extra time started with France winning the important coin toss and they chose to receive the ball.
However, Jack Brown hit a beautiful kick-off which went out in the corner of the try area for a goal line dropout.
Nathan Holmes took the kick and passed it out wide to Wayne Boardman who just got tackled at the right corner.
The ball was sent left to Jack Brown and he slipped by a defender before placing it down on the try line to win the game and the championship for England and spark delirious scenes.
Wayne Boardman, Joe Coyd, James Simpson, Sebastien Bechara, Martin Lane, Jack Brown (c), Nathan Holmes, Harry Brown
Tries: H. Brown, J. Brown 3, Coyd
Yann Menunier, Nicolas Clausells, Christophe Cochand, Mikael Gaune, Manual Morais, Guillaume Mautz, Laurent Despues, Michel Penella, Lionel Alazard, Kevin Pastor, Theo Gonzales
Tries: Alazard, Guane 2, Clausells
Referee: Steve Abel and Matthew Ball
Goal Officials: Rhett Johnson and Stuart Naylor
5th Official: David Abel