England RU Counties XI 41 v 10 French Amateurs

Held at Blackheath

BLACKHEATH'S Dave Allen was on the scoresheet as England showed the French a thing or two at The Rectory Field.

The flanker scored England's fifth of six tries in the second half.

Other tries came from Esher's Neil Hallett (two), Mark Bedworth (Wharfdale), Alastair Bressington (Stourbridge) and Wayne Reed (Launceston).

Hallet also bagged four concersions and a penalty of the English.

The England RU Counties XV only produced glimpses of their fluent best in beating French Amateurs fairly convincingly at Blackheath, but they still managed six tries to one to emphasise their obvious superiority.

The Counties got away to a flying start and were leading 24-0 after only 23 minutes as the French defence failed to cope with some direct running and good support work.

Full-back Neil Hallett opened the scoring with a penalty after 5 minutes and he also crossed for the first of his two tries soon afterwards after good approach play by fly-half Matt Leek and lock Richard Snowball.

He converted that try and also added the goal points when centre Mark Bedworth scored a fine solo try on 20 minutes, stepping through the midfield defence and cantering in from 35 yards.

Good work from the backs then ended in wingman Alastair Bressington scoring and Hallett converting, an injury time penalty by French fly-half Nicolas Picabea leaving the home side 24-3 ahead at the interval.

Both sides suffered their share of injuries and the French were further handicapped by yellow cards being issued to replacements Brice Sarrandao and Yannick Maredet.

As a result the second-half was a scrappy, disjointed affair, with prop Wayne Reed driving over for a Counties try before a handling error allowed wingman Rachid Ourak to gather and gallop 50 yards unapposed for a try converted by Picabea.

The Counties had the last word, however, when host club player Dave Allen crossed at the posts from Bevon Armitage's pass, and Hallett competed a 21 point haul with his second try and both conversions.

"We played with plenty of ambition and scored six tries, which can only pleasing," said Counties Manager Jim Robinson. "It was untidy at times, but we never gave up trying to play good rugby."