England Universities got their 2023 President’s Cup campaign underway with a thumping victory over Great Britain Teachers on Wednesday night at Lock Lane.
It took just one minute for Leon Stewart to jink his way through to give the students a dream start to the match, although Jack Mallinson couldn’t find the mark with the conversion. A few minutes after, with a replica of the same move, second-row Charlie McCurrie found himself barging over to increase the lead, with Mallinson this time on target with the boot, and it was Mallinson shortly after who made the space and ground to send Joe Wardhill scything through on the right edge, setting up an easy conversion for Mallinson.
England who were in dominant form seemed to relax and showed some intelligent rugby, with Joe Riley taking Charlie McCurrie’s inside pass sublimely to keep the scoreboard rolling forward, with another easy shot on goal for Mallinson and shortly afterwards Mallinson bagged a try of his own to the right of the sticks, which he added the extras for to give England a commanding lead at the 20 minute mark.
Defensively Liam Welham, Aaron Hall and Danny Holmes put in a stunning shift for the Teachers, but Danny Holmes overstepped the mark as he was caught stamping on Leon Stewart’s hand by referee, and his former pupil, Ben Brocklehurst and was sent for an early bath with just under an hour of the match to go. Despite being depleted, the Teachers capitalised on a loose ball shortly afterwards, with Nathan Lyon opening their account and Rob Marsh landing the kick.
With England having rotated the front row and the Teachers rallying, both sides traded sets to the end of the half with England going into the sheds with a 28-6 lead.
Leon Stewart started the second half the way he started the first, finishing Jack Cherry’s break under the posts with the conversion a formality for Mallinson before Iwan Orr showed some dazzling pace and determination to stay in field as he scorched down the touchline to score in the right corner, although the kick was a step too far for Mallinson. Joe Riley scampered in on the back of the fast play by England’s left edge, with Mallinson landing a towering conversion from the left touch line to make up for his previous miss.
The Teachers found some joy in the middle of the park on the back of a strong run by Welham, with Elliott Denett sliding in on the right edge, although Ethan Cross was unable to convert.
England responded with Matty Rudd burrowing through at close range on the hour mark before Dan White bagged himself a birthday try from long range, the former converted by Mallinson but the latter a miss.
The final word went to Teachers prop Hall, himself a former England Universities player, who collected a loose ball to dive in to the corner with five minutes to go to add some further respectability to the scoreline, although Cross was again unable to add the extras.
Nathan Redmond, Michael Holden, Leon Stewart, Joe Wardill, Jack Cherry, Jack Mallinson, Joe Riley, Chris Gale, Alfie Crawford, Jordan Bull, Charlie McCurrie, Dan White, Nathan Rushworth. Interchanges: Matty Rudd, Adam Lavin, Aaron Powell, Iwan Orr, Harry Medlicott
Tries: Leon Stewart (1, 43) Charlie McCurrie (4), Joe Wardill (11), Joe Riley (14, 51) Jack Mallinson (18), Iwan Orr (48), Matty Rudd (61), Dan White (65)
Goals: Jack Mallionson 7/10
Great Britain Teachers
Nathan Taylor, Ethan Cross, Ben Pulleyn, Joe Jackson, Nathan Lyon, Matty Ellis, Rob Marsh, Aaron Hall, Luke Johnson, Danny Holmes, Liam Welham, Elliot Liku, Jack Walton. Interchanges: Joe Edwards, Macauley Cromack, Dan Douglas, Elliott Denett, Tom Smith
Tries: Nathan Lyon (25), Elliott Denett (51), Aaron Hall (75) Goals: Rob Marsh 1/1, Ethan Cross 0/2
Sent Off – 22 Min – Danny Holmes - Stamping
Referee: Ben Brocklehurst