Cooper shines in rout

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The Independent Online

The British amateur international side made the expected winning start to their campaign in the Emerging Nations World Championship at Featherstone last night, running in 12 tries.

The British amateur international side made the expected winning start to their campaign in the Emerging Nations World Championship at Featherstone last night, running in 12 tries.

But Morocco, beaten 104-0 by the Lebanon in their last outing, deserved credit for competing to the end. Despite having to leave some of their better players at home owing to visa problems, Morocco ran with purpose and defended with determination, only to fall behind to a try of childish simplicity when Marc Jackson took a quick penalty near the line and went over unopposed.

Midway through the half, the Barla side started to take control with a try of real quality, Darren Jones' short pass giving Darrell Cooper, one of two players from the Combined Services making their mark at this level, the chance to show his pace.

Having made those inroads, Britain scored three tries in eight minutes, through Paul Davidson, Stephen Morton and the other man from the Armed Services, Lee Innes. With Jackson landing two of his conversions, the British were on their way to a comfortable victory.

Straight after the break Cooper, from the Royal Engineers, slipped a couple of tackles for a try, closely followed by Jackson. The Moroccan prop Hicham El Aaribi went to the sin bin for a high tackle in the build-up to that one, soon to be joined by Brian Newby for a burst of dissent that allowed Jean-Philippe Martinez to kick Morocco's only points.

With Ouahib Fryed also going to the bin, the British captain, Phil O'Neil, took advantage of the gaps to score his side's ninth try. Cooper then became the fourth man in the sin bin as the game sometimes threatened to turn ugly. Rob Shaw, Nigel Halmshaw and Morton completed the try scoring.

In last night's other Emerging Nations' game, the USA beat Canada 52-10 at Oxford.

Great Britain and Ireland: Hedgecock, Morton, O'Neil, Cooper, Innes, Jones, Shaw, Dancer, Jackson, Davidson, Newby, Sherwen, Fletcher. Substitutes used: Malik, Halmshaw, Birdstall, Devlin.

Morocco: Fryed, Sabir, Fakir, Manar, Lrelarf, Martinez, El Hasnaoui, El Jebrouni, Sabri, El Aaribi, Maazouz, Bliel, Oumansouri. Substitutes used: Faham, Lmsika, Zouri, Moutawakil.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).

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