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Dom Young makes mark as England rout Fiji 50-0 in Rugby League World Cup warm-up clash

Nine different players ran in tries for England as they eased to victory over Fiji in Salford on Friday evening; Newcastle Knights winger Dom Young made a big impact on his first start for Shaun Wane’s team

Last Updated: 07/10/22 10:27pm


Dom Young grabbed a try on an impressive debut for England

England flexed their muscles ahead of the Rugby League World Cup with a 50-0 rout of Fiji in their warm-up clash at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.

There were nine different try-scorers as Shaun Wane’s men comfortably avoided a repeat of the shock 15-14 defeat to Italy at the AJ Bell Stadium in the build-up to the last World Cup on home soil in 2013.

Head coach Wane knows it will be a different story when his side go up against the might of Samoa in the tournament opener in Newcastle next Saturday but, on a wet night in Salford, there was much for him to be pleased about, not least the performance of blockbusting winger Dom Young.

The 22-year-old former Huddersfield Giants player scored one try and laid on two more before half-time to press his case for inclusion in the tournament opener at St James’ Park.

Fiji, who had former Featherstone Rovers bosses James Webster and Brian McDermott in their coaching box, were semi-finalists in each of the last three tournaments but will need a drastic improvement if they are to trouble Australia in their opening game next Saturday.

They rarely looked capable of breaching England’s watertight defence and their misery was compounded by injuries to Brandon Wakeham, Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu and Kylen Miller.

Wane used 18 members of his 24-strong World Cup squad, including his six-strong NRL contingent, and supplemented it with four fringe players to give the non-Grand Finalists precious match practice.

Kallum Watkins forced his way over for England despite Kevin Naiqama's best efforts

Kallum Watkins forced his way over for England despite Kevin Naiqama’s best efforts

The early signs were good for England, with uncapped hooker Andy Ackers coming up with a strong burst and full-back Jack Welsby causing all sorts of problems with his deft kicking.

Handling errors in the slippery conditions from Ryan Hall and Herbie Farnworth gave the Fijians a sight of their opponents’ line but England’s defence was strong and, once they found their groove, it was one-way traffic.

Young was denied early on but there was no stopping the Newcastle Knights flier on 14 minutes as he accepted Welsby’s pass to open the scoring in the corner. Marc Sneyd missed the conversion, but his accuracy quickly returned as England began to run in the tries.

Ackers profited from a superb offload by prop Luke Thompson to cap his impressive start with a try and Young delivered the final passes to get Kallum Watkins and George Williams over before second rower Elliott Whitehead gathered Sneyd’s chip over the Fiji defence for his side’s fifth try before the break, when England led 28-0.

England's Luke Thompson takes on Fiji's Joe Tiara

England’s Luke Thompson takes on Fiji’s Joe Tiara

With one eye on next week, Wane withdrew the influential Welsby at half-time, with Liam Marshall getting a run at full-back, but there was no change to the pattern of the game.

Thompson touched down a Sneyd grubber kick to increase England’s advantage five minutes into the second half and Mike McMeeken and Mike Cooper took advantage of some lightweight defence to crash over for further tries.

England lost cohesion as Wane began to empty the rest of his bench and the only other try came from record try-scorer Ryan Hall, who took Marshall’s pass to cross at the corner seven minutes from the end.



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