England rally is counted out

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A late fightback failed to save England A from crashing to their third successive tour defeat, 28-23 against New South Wales County at Gosford yesterday.

Trailing 28-11 with three minutes remaining, the tourists scored two tries and a conversion, but narrowly failed to end their losing run.

Andrew Harding, the man of the match, caused constant problems with his place-kicking, and the County wingers, Ian Tonkin and Nathan Friss, put the hosts ahead with a try apiece in the first half. Tonkin scored inside the first three minutes while Friss produced a fine 65-metre solo effort.

England A countered in the closing stages of the half, but only had a try from the prop Kevin Yates and a penalty from the acting captain, Paul Grayson, to show for their endeavours.

Tim Eddy grabbed three penalties after the break, while the second row forward, Gordon McQueen, touched down to give County a 28-11 lead with just three minutes remaining.

England rallied at the finale and Derek Evens crossed and Grayson narrowed the margin to five points by converting a fine solo try by Steve Hackney.