England 74 Wales 0: Fielden injury mars England's fine night

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The Independent Online

The most comfortable of nights in Doncaster might be little guide to what lies ahead in the World Cup, but England did all that could have been asked of them with a clinical, record-breaking dissection of the weak Welsh.

Eight members of the squad flying out on Monday for the tournament – plus others who hope for a call as a replacement – proved far too strong in a 14-try romp. Three who will be on that plane – Rob Purdham, Mickey Higham and Gareth Hock – stood out, but this was a ruthless all-round display.

For a side full of part-timers, reserves and students, Wales made a decent enough start, going close through their new captain, David Mills, and only falling behind in unfortunate circumstances.

One of their new boys, Lee Williams, was harshly adjudged to have passed forward and, from that possession, the floodgates opened. Meanwhile Purdham, one of the players very much in Tony Smith's World Cup plans, showed his class with the first try.

Fine work by Higham set up Shaun Briscoe as England embarked on a demonstration of support play which was impressive. Straight from the restart, Paul Sykes went over for his first.

Martin Gleeson recorded his first try as England captain, which he followed by combining with Purdham for Richard Myler to touch down. Mark Calderwood made the break for Sykes' second, before Gleeson scored again.

To the credit of the battered Welsh they had a few minutes of defiance before half-time and were unlucky to be denied a try by Aled James, on the grounds that Steve Ganson had inadvertently blown his whistle.

Even that little revival came back to bite them, Calderwood racing away for England's eighth try. Tony Clubb, Hock, Myler, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Briscoe with his second all went over as England went past their previous best against the Welsh.

The only downside for England was that Stuart Fielden, who had looked ready for a World Cup call, finished the game with his knee in ice. He looked on as Peter Fox scored their 14th try to end the night on a high.

"It was a good hit-out for us tonight," said Smith. "Some young guys played tremendously well, considering they hadn't played together before."

England: Briscoe; Fox, Shenton, Sykes, Calderwood; Gleeson, Myler; Fielden, Higham, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Hock, Westwood, Purdham. Substitutes used: Hodgson, Langley, Griffin, Clubb.

Wales: Halley; Gibson, A.James, L.Williams, R.Williams; Lennon, Watson; Kopczak, Penkywicz , Mills, Flower, Davies, Bracek. Substitutes used: Dudson, Griffiths, J.James, Barron.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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