Rugby League: Gasnier's moment of genuine class puts paid to brave British

GB and Ireland Young Lions 12 Australian Schoolboys 16
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THERE IS no team in rugby league with a record quite like the Australian Schoolboys, who have never lost a game in 27 years of coming to this country.

They never truly looked like losing that distinction in the second and final Test of this tour at Hull last night, but there opponents could take a good deal of credit for giving them as tight a contest as they did.

If Great Britain held their own for the opening quarter of the first Test at Widnes, they did so for the first full half of this. The outstanding Bradford full-back, Paul Sykes, wiped out an early penalty from Braith Anasta and also kept the British try line intact with a superb tackle on Danny Sullivan.

He could do nothing after 27 minutes when Arthur Little's run pulled in the defence and, with numbers missing on the wing, Brett Sargent went over, Anasta adding the conversion from the touchline.

Directed by some good handling from Chris Thorman, Britain showed refreshing confidence in their ability to strike back. They did so after a strong burst by Leeds' Chev Walker, Thorman throwing the long pass for David Hodgson to score. Sykes landed the equalising kick.

It took some redoubtable defence from Britain, notably from Sykes and Hodgson, to protect their try line before and after half-time. They showed great resolve and the only points they conceded were from another successful kick from Anasta.

In the 57th minute, however, Australia scored the try that gave them the sort of lead they needed to maintain their perfect record in Europe. Fittingly it came via a touch of genuine class from their centre, Mark Gasnier, whose flicked pass sent Justin Hodges striding for the line.

Five minutes from time, the Australian winger Trent Clayton, lost Thorman's high kick and Walker pounced on the loose ball. It was not quite enough, but in the context of the one-sided history of this fixture it was a memorable effort.

Great Britain: Sykes; Salmon, Walker, Hodgson, Andrews; Thorman, Horne; Bibey, Smith, Parker, Fletcher, Jones-Buchanan, Noone. Substitutes used: Kirkbride, McNally, Dean, Myler.

Australian Schoolboys: Hodges; Langi, Gasnier, Lyon, Clayton; Branighan, Little; Woolnough, Irvine, Tronc, Sullivan, Rowbottom, Anasta. Substitutes used: Parker, Sargent, Ninness, Jordan.

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).

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