JPR Worsley makes a name for himself

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The Independent Online
England Schools 18 Group 22

France Schools 18 Group 6

Players bearing the initials JPR have gone into legend in the recent past; firstly Wales's JPR Williams then the France flanker Jean-Pierre Rives. Yesterday it was England's turn to introduce a potential star with the famous initials in the shape of flanker Joseph "JPR'' Worsley.

The Hitchin Boys' School open side was one of a number of promising players who helped England win their second successive Grand Slam with a sound but unexciting victory over a lacklustre French side at Grange Road, Cambridge.

It was fitting that Worsley should crown a fine personal performance with England's third and final try late in the game, when he stole in to take a fortunate interception and galloped unopposed for 25 yards for the touchline while the remaining players were looking frantically for the ball.

The chill wind and driving sleet and rain, punctuated only occassionally by sunshine, did not help, nor did schoolboys' errors.

If a movement did get underway, invariably the crucial final pass either bobbled ahead or went to ground.Two often the ball would be lost in the tackle.

In first half, the England forwards showed their mastery of the maul and their superiority at the line out, notably through Joe Beardshaw and William Fuller.

Meanwhile Worsley and his captain, Geoff Wappett, proved effective links with the half-backs. And if Martyn Woods' passes were on the slow and low side occasionally, he still got enough ball out for the nippy three quarters to strut their stuff.

Centre Joe Ewens, a pupil at Colston's in Bristol where the former England flanker, Andy Robinson, runs the rugby, was the classiest back on display and rounded off a fine attack in the 17th minute with a try which was converted by Millfield's Jeremy Cook.

When Beardshaw crashed over from a line-out early in the second half and Cook again added the conversion the match was nearly over for the French who had responded with two first-half penalties by Matthieu Barrau.

Cook took his tally in the four Grand Slam matches to 42 points with a penalty midway through the half, and then came the initial step in another JPR's career.

England: Tries J Ewens, J Beardshaw, J Worsley; Conversions J Cook 2; Penalties J Cook. France: Penalties M Barrau.

ENGLAND: J Hurst (Stonyhurst); P Sampson (Woodhouse Grove), J Ewens (Colston's) , K Sorrell (Campion), J Cook (Millfield); I McLennan (Hallcross ), M Wood (Harrogate GS); M Worsley (St Ambrose), R Protherough (King's, Worcester), C Cano (Thomas Alleyne School), J Beardshaw (Gresham's School), W Fuller (Wallington) J Cockle (Prior Park College), J Worsley (Hitchin), G Wappett (capt, Bradford GS).

FRANCE: S Dantein; P Giroud, C Pinel, M Barrau, N Leroux; O Gazon, O Lapeze; V Calderou, N Francois, C Taupin, M Lefevre, A Farina, C Daste (capt), M Felkaoui, D Chouchan.

Referee: J Steele (SRU).