England Knights coach Paul Anderson was delighted with his young side after they provided an exciting glimpse into the future with a 56-4 rout of Jamaica at Castleford.
The Knights are in theory England’s back-up team but Anderson used the fixture to take a look at the players who might well feature at the 2025 World Cup, fielding a team with an average age of 21, and he was greatly encouraged by their 10-try victory.
“I’m really pleased, it’s exciting for the future of our game,” said Anderson, who believes some of the players could force their way into the reckoning for Shaun Wane’s squad for next year’s World Cup.
“Shaun was here with the senior squad and I’m sure he’s picked a lot of things out of this, there are some people who may well force his hand next year.”
Among those to impress was stand-off Will Pryce, the 18-year-old son of former Great Britain international Leon Pryce, who scored 18 points with a try and seven goals from eight attempts to win the man-of-the-match award.
“It’s something you dream about, scoring a try for England,” said the Huddersfield player. “I was buzzing.
“Everyone dug really deep and played for each other. We talked about working really hard and off the back of that enjoying ourselves. In the second half we started to throw the ball about and really enjoy ourselves.”
Former Leeds winger Ben Jones-Bishop scored Jamaica’s only try and coach Jermaine Coleman admitted it was not the performance he was looking for in the build-up to the World Cup.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, to be honest,” he said. “It’s probably the first time I’m going to say this about the group, I thought we gave in a little bit, we lacked a bit of effort in the second half.
“It’s a harsh lesson to learn but something we needed to learn as we prepare for the World Cup next year. The intensity is going to go up another level and it’s important our boys are exposed to that.”
Coleman hopes full-back James Woodburn-Hall will be fit for Jamaica’s next match, against Scotland at Featherstone on Sunday week, after going off with a head knock in the first half and he also expects to have Toulouse hooker Lloyd White and Sheffield half-back Izaac Farrell available.
While Jamaica have only a week to wait for the next match, Anderson must wait to discover when his side’s next fixture will be.
“That’s us for the year,” he said. “They’ve had a taste and hopefully we can get more regular football for these young players.”