Young Worcester Warriors wing wonder Earl Collins was among the scorers as England's Under 19 Regional Academy opened a four-match touring programme with the Australian Schools by claiming a 27-12 victory at Lymm RFC on Wednesday.
Coach John Fletcher was always confident that his side - that also included Warriors Academy centre Andy Short - had the talent to test the visitors and they fulfilled all his expectations in holding the whip-hand from the moment full-back Jonathan Joseph (London Irish) crossed for the opening try and fly-half Jake Sharp (Saracens) converted.
Sharp claimed the second after 19 minutes and converted his own score for a 14-0 lead and while Australian centre Matthew Garland cut the deficit with a 29th minute try to raise the visitors' morale and make the interval scoreline 14-5.
However, a third try from Worcester Academy wingman Collins on 40 minutes opened up the lead once again, although once again the tourists refused to concede the struggle and rallied with a try by flanker Jack de Guingand that scrum-half and captain Matthew Lucas converted to bring his side within a score at 19-12.
Sharp then steadied the home team's nerves with a penalty before leaving the field as a precaution ahead of an outing on the Saracens bench against Castres on Friday, but Joseph had the last word when he crossed for the final try after 68 minutes.
A cameo moment for the hosts came when 16-year-old replacement centre Mark Jennings from Lymm High School and Sale Sharks took the field when the management elected to use all their replacements.
The tourists now stay in the North West to prepare for their next game, an international against England Under 18s at Sale FC's Heywood Road headquarters on Sunday (kick-off 2pm), when coach Fletcher will once again be in charge.
"The game was very tough, physical battle," said Fletcher: "We lacked precision at times and it was a bit scrappy but for us to score four tries against opposition of that calibre after only half a day's preparation was a pretty good effort," said Fletcher. "So far as the tourists are concerned, they compete well for the ball and they are very dangerous in broken play situations, as you would expect."
England U19 Regional Academies 27 (Tries: Joseph 2, Sharp, Collins. Con: Sharp 2. Pen: Sharp) Australia Schools 12 (Tries: Garland, De Guingand. Con: Lucas)
England Academies squad: forwards: Harry Allen (Saracens), Pete Austin (London Irish), Ryan Bower (Leicester Tigers), Matt Everard (Leicester Tigers), Ben Glynn (Bristol Rugby), Tom Hicks (Northampton Saints), Sam Jones (London Wasps), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins), Jethro Rawling (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Steadman (Leeds Carnegie), Henry Thomas (Sales Sharks), Mako Vunipola (Bristol Rugby). Backs: Tommy Bell (Sales Sharks), Earl Collins (Worcester Warriors), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Ryan Glynn (Sales Sharks), Mark Jennings (Sale Sharks), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Jake Sharp (Saracens), Andy Short (Worcester), Sam Stuart (Harlequins), Marcus Watson (London Irish).
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