Rugby League: Maloney looks smart amid the untidiness

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Great Britain Under-21. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

France Under-21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

GREAT BRITAIN Under-21 failed to live up to their collective potential by allowing a French side with most of their usual frailties to escape from Warrington with a respectable scoreline last night.

The French, who have proved a rather tougher nut to crack at this level than in recent full internationals, gave Britain a rude shock in the early minutes. Dangerous runs by Pascal Bomati and Pierre Jammes put the defence under pressure and a clever little kick from their captain, Pascal Jampy, created the try for Cyril Baudouin, with Stephane Chamorin converting.

That was the wake-up call that Great Britain needed and they responded with two fine tries within four minutes. The first sprang from a splendid long pass from Gareth Stephens, fed on by Francis Maloney to the long-striding Barrie-Jon Mather. The second, from Steve McCurrie's pass was brilliantly finished by Daio Powell in the corner.

Iestyn Harris' conversion of the first try was cancelled out by a penalty after Mather was pulled up for playing the ball illegally, but Harris extended Britain's lead with another kick.

A lovely interchange of passes with Rob Danby sent Maloney in for a try which, along with two goals from Harris, sent them further ahead before half-time.

The busy and constructive half- backs, Stephens and Maloney, fashioned a try for their captain McCurrie. Scoring chances were by now appearing regularly and being squandered, but there were no mistakes when Mather again split the French and Danby sent in Harris.

The French managed a gesture of defiance when Jammes, with Huddersfield earlier this season, went over on the left wing and gave a repeat performance two minutes later. An untidy start and a worse finish had taken the gloss off much of the British youngsters' good work.

GREAT BRITAIN UNDER-21: Penny (Warrington); Powell (Bradford), Goddard (Wakefield), Danby (Hull), Harris (Warrington); Maloney (Featherstone), Stephens (Leeds); Sykes (Castleford), Chamberlain (Hull KR), M Cassidy (Wigan), Mather (Wigan), Perrett (Halifax), McCurrie (Widnes). Substitutes: Harland (Halifax) for Mather, 63; J Cassidy (Hull) for M Cassidy, 65; Holroyd (Leeds) for Maloney, 67; Martin (Leigh) for Powell, 69.

FRANCE UNDER-21: Lucchese (Huddersfield); Jammes (Limoux), Bomati (13 Catalan), Dulan (St Gaudens), Ricard (Albi); Tiburcio (St Esteve), Banet (13 Catalan); Teixido (Limoux), Tena (13 Catalan), Baudouin (Carpentras), Jean (La Reole), Chamorin (St Esteve), Jampy (13 Catalan). Substitutes: Satge (Carcassonne) for Tiburcio, 47; Banquet (Carcassonne) for Ricard, 58; Gagliazzo (Carcassonne) for Jean, 66.

Referee: M Chanfreau (France).