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The England Academy got their Test series against the Australian Schoolboys off to the best possible start by coming from 12 points behind to seal an impressive 38-30 victory in the first Test at Leigh Sports Village.

England got off to a flying start with second row Danny Bridge scoring within the first few minutes and they continued to dominate the first half with winger Ryan King also getting on the score sheet. England could easily have had 20 points on the board at half time had they capitalised on some golden opportunities but some basic errors cost them dear, allowing the Australians to cross the white wash twice and take the sides into the interval level at 12-12.

The Australians took control in the opening stages of the second half, scoring two quick converted tries before the 50 minute mark to take the scores to 24-12. It could have been worse for England when Australian winger Jacob Gagan broke free in his own 20 with no one in front of him, but an heroic effort from Reece Lyne stopped Gagan two meters short of the line.

From then on England took charge with Academy captain Adam Milner seizing control and leading his side to victory. With the scores at 30-18 and only ten minutes left to go, Milner broke through the middle to set up Matthew Sarsfield who scored under the posts to make it 30-24 after England’s Sam Powell had his score cancelled out by Australian captain Paul Carter.

Milner broke through again moments later to create a platform for his Castleford Tigers teammate Jordan Thompson to score. Gareth O’Brien missed the conversion which kept the score at 30-28, but Milner earned his side a penalty seconds later which O’Brien slotted over with ease to bring the sides level.

In the dying minutes, England’s Sam Powell latched on to his own kick to make it 34-30 and O’Brien added the extras before scoring another penalty to give the England side a hard fought and well deserved 38-30 victory.

Speaking after the game, England Academy Head Coach Dave Elliott said, “I’m really proud of all the boys. They have really dug in deep today. At 30-18 down they could easily have caved in but they showed a lot of effort to come back.

“We wanted to prove some people wrong. There have been people saying that the Australian’s are much better than us and that they are a more talented side, but we’ve got some skill in our team and our boys wanted to show that.

“We withstood everything they threw at us and then some. There are some big units in their side but there are some big talented guys in our squad as well and I think that was a fantastic game for all the fans to watch.

“Adam Milner put in a real captains knock today and James Laithwaite got man of the match which I think four of five people could have won.

“We know the jobs only half done now though. We would love to win a test series against the Australians and the lads are all very focused on winning the series, not just this test.”

The Second Test will be played this Friday at Castleford.