Improved Wales fail to halt Tomkins

Wales 12 England 48
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The Independent Online

If Tony Smith has learnt much from this pre-Four Nations run-out most of it must concern his half-back options.

Sam Tomkins, with three tries and two more set up for others with clever kicks, was the star, but Richie Myler, who all the evidence suggests is Smith's preferred choice at scrum-half, looked unsurprisingly ring-rusty in his first game for months.

Smith said: "Sam will get the headlines because of his three tries, but both half-backs did some good things."

Other pluses for England included the performance of Sam Burgess and two tries for the 19-year-old winger, Tom Briscoe. However, they were put under unexpected pressure by an improved Welsh effort.

The young home team had the temerity to take an early lead and, at 12-20 with half an hour to play, threatened to make it close.

The Wales coach, Iestyn Harris, after his first match in charge, picked out Jordan James for his rugged defence, but the Welsh had a well-organised look about them that contrasted with last year's 74-0 hammering and promises better things under the new boss.

Wales: Kear; Bateman, Blackwood, Griffiths, R Williams; White, Webster; James, Budworth, Dudson, Kopczak, Flower, Davies. Substitutes used: Barron, Watson, L Williams, Divorty.

England: Sykes; Fox, O'Loughlin, Shenton, Briscoe; Tomkins, Myler; Morley, Moore, Carvell, Ellis, Westwood, Burgess. Substitutes used: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Higham, Tickle, Bridge.

Referee: T Alibert (France).