George Williams leads by example as England ease past France

Drew Darbyshire
George Williams England News Images

Photo: Steve Flynn/News Images

George Williams proved exactly why he has been given the captain’s armband by Shaun Wane as England thrashed France 64-0 in Warrington.

The Warrington half-back grabbed a hat-trick and came up with four assists. Leeds winger Ash Handley, who was making his England debut, also scored a hat-trick.

The first game of the double-header saw England hammer France 64-0 in the women’s clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Match report

England coach Shaun Wane handed debuts to 13 players – Ash Handley, Tom Holroyd (Leeds), Toby King, Jake Wardle, Harry Smith, Ethan Havard, Morgan Smithies (all Wigan), Matty Ashton, Danny Walker, Matty Nicholson, James Harrison (all Warrington), Jez Litten (Hull KR) and Tyler Dupree (Salford).

Meanwhile, Catalans provided nine players for the French side.

It was a dream start for England, who scored inside the fourth minute as Ash Handley latched on to a lovely chip from captain George Williams to score.

Play was stopped for a couple of minutes midway through the first half after a couple of England and France players slid straight through the advertising hoardings as they chases down a kick. Thankfully, all players were okay and resumed play.

England extended their lead in the 21st minute when Harry Smith showed great support play for a break from his team-mate Jake Wardle. Smith converted his own try.

Wane’s side were piling pressure on France’s defence in the first half and got their third try through Bulgaria-born prop Ethan Havard.

England were in cruise control in the first 40, with Wardle extending their lead as he dived over in the corner. Smith converted to give his side a 24-0 lead.

A break from Handley down the right flank saw him assist the supporting George Williams, with the newly-appointed skipper flying over.

Leeds winger Handley got his second of the game just before half-time thanks to a superb cut-out pass from Williams. Smith converted to put his side 36-0 in front at the break.

England comfortable at half-time

It was a slow start to the second half, with France certainly making more of a fist of it in the second 40.

Williams got his second of the afternoon in the 55th minute as he showed some good support play for a Handley break.

Handley completed his hat-trick on the hour mark as he managed to collect Williams’ chip and somehow get the ball grounded without going in to touch.

The Lions were in complete control in the second half and scored another through Kai Pearce-Paul, with Smith converting to give his side a 52-0 lead.

Captain Williams completed his hat-trick in the 67th minute when he again supported a flying break from Handley.

England wrapped up the victory late on thanks to a try from debutant Walker. Williams added the goal to seal a comfortable 64-0 win for England in Warrington.

England: Welsby; Handley, King, Wardle, Ashton; Williams, Smith; Holroyd, Walker, Havard, Nicholson, Pearce-Paul, Smithies. Subs: Litten, Harrison, Currie, Dupree. 18th player: Thewlis. Coach: Wane.

Tries: Handley (3), Smith, Havard, Wardle, Williams (3), Pearce-Paul, Walker Goals: Smith 9, Williams 1

France: Zenon; Romano, Langi, Laguerre, Marcon; Mourgue, Rouge; Chan, Marion, Marion, Vailhen, Jullien, Cozza, Goudemand. Subs: Tison, Sangare, Scimone, Jouffret. 18th player: Jussaume. Coach: Frayssinous.

Tries: Goals:

Attendance: 8,422

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