Kelly reflects on Aussie tour

England Academy head coach Andy Kelly says the tour to Australia was an invaluable experience for the players despite losing the two tests.

England Academy went down to the Australian Schoolboys in matches in Redcliffe and Cronulla.

“The content of the four weeks over there was well thought out, you could look at it on face value and say the test results were disappointing but in the first test I thought we were very competitive and the score probably flattered Australia,” Kelly said.

“In the second test I thought the Australians were better than us and the reality was over the two tests I think it suggested the difference between the two.

“I think in terms of player development it was very good and some of our top academy players will have got some learning points from the four weeks that they would not have got in any other environment and the mental, physical and core skill attitude needs to be better and I think they understood that at the end of the four weeks.”

Aside from the Test matches, the England Academy players got to experience training alongside some of the NRL teams and meet Rugby League stars such as Sam Burgess and Andrew Johns, something which Kelly believes will be an experience that the young players never forget.

“They were training alongside Manly and trained at some really good grounds,” he said.

“They had some environment changes that were very good for them and the numbers of players and people that dropped into see them – Trent Barrett, Luke Burgess and even Sam Burgess had them in the dressing room after the game.

“Andrew Johns one of the greats of Rugby League in Australia and the world dropped in to do a kicking session – so there were just loads of good occasions for them to bite into.

“We had a game run against the Sydney Roosters, so the boys actually had physical contact session with an NRL first grade, which they did really well in because they challenged the defensive effort of the Roosters and we actually had the audacity to score a couple of points and you could see then the Roosters then took us more seriously and the contact levels went up.

“Then travelling into Sydney, the Opera House, Bondi beach, the Gold Coast and all the tourist things going on and for some of them it might be a once in a lifetime experience.”

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