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7 March 2012
England Colleges Rugby Return Victorious from Portugal


England Colleges Rugby Men's squad returned on Tuesday, 21st February 2012 from a highly successful five day tour to Lisbon, having beaten the Portuguese U18's national team 2-0 in the two game series. 

Playing at the 37,000 seater Estádio Nacional on Saturday in the outskirts of the city England Colleges, captained by Joe Arrowsmith, beat Portugal 35-25 in the opening game. 

The England side, made up of 24 players selected from British Colleges Sport affiliated colleges, had a commanding half time lead of 24-3 thanks to tries from three-quarters Eldon Myers, Sean Brown and Oliver McCall, all converted by fly half George Meadows who also struck a penalty early on. 

But Portugal are by no means a walk over, playing in Elite Tier of the FIRA U18's Tournament against nations like Scotland and Ireland, and they responded with brilliant vigour scoring four tries of their own in the second period to produce a nervy finish. 

However a try for Man of the Match, Ben King and fifth for England through fly-half replacement Lewis Allen saw the tourists home to victory, although they were made to hang on in the closing stages and were thankful for the brilliant kicking of Meadows throughout which gave the colleges side some breathing room. 

After just a day's rest England faced Portugal again on Monday in a physical encounter which saw the visitors earn three yellow cards for foul play. However the Colleges side showed great spirit to overcome the adversity and win the match 24-5. 

With a much changed side England once again took an early lead, this time through a penalty from new fly-half Lewis Allan. 

A powerful display of scrummaging from the pack gave England a strong platform to launch attacks from all day however they took the lead by latching onto a mistake by the hosts. Number eight Sam Bixby was the first to react to an over-thrown lineout inside Portugal's 22 before powering his way over the line. Allan slotted the conversion.

England combined to score a beautiful flowing team try for their second of the day, with both wingers, including captain Sean Brown, playing significant roles in the build up before the ball was spread along the line for blindside flanker Eddy Webster to finish the move in the corner. On a difficult wide angle Allan added the extras. 

Allan then scored the most dramatic try of match, although Eldon Myers contributed considerably to this try. The flying winger put his foot down and accelerated through the centre of the Portuguese defence who were left snatching at thin air - bursting 70 metres down-field and with the line just metres away Myers showed great team spirit and maturity to pass to his supporting team mate for fear he would be cut down by the chasing cover. Allan converted his own score to finish with a personal tally of 14 points in the game. 

While Myers failed to cross the line he was rewarded with the Man of the Match honour for the second match. With England, falling foul of the referee in the second half, down to 13 men at one point, Portugal scored a late try to deny the tourists the clean sheet they desired. 

Brown, who captained England in the absence of squad skipper and college team mate Arrowsmith, was voted Player or the Tour by the coaching team. 

England Colleges Rugby Team Manager Phil Llewlyn said: "Sean was the standout player on the tour picking up the Player of the Tour award for consistently strong performances in both games.

"The tour was an outstanding success. To win both games and perform the way the players did is exceptional, even more so considering they have not played together until now."

"I personally am very excited about the squad we have this year and we will all be looking forward to our next game against the Irish Exiles on Sunday 11th March at the Prince of Wales Stadium in Cheltenham."

 

2011/12 Rugby Squad (Portugal trip)

Touring squad: 1 Tom Pellett (Sussex Downs College), 2 Alex Spurdle (Bicton College), 3 Harry Smith (Henley College), 4 Alex Hawthorne (Birmingham Metropolitan College), 5 Charlie Watts (Worthing College), 6 Sam Bixby (West Suffolk College), 7 Joe Arrowsmith (East Durham College), 8 Harry Pilkington (Mysercough College), 9 George Meadows (Exeter College), 10 Sean Brown (East Durham College) 11 Jack Parsons (Queen Mary's College, Basingstoke), 12 Andy Priddle (Filton College), 13 Troi Coleman (Henley College), 14 Olly Mccall (Mysercough College), 15 Elliot White (Barton Percivil College ) 16 Declan Peake (Worthing College), 17 Phil Mills, 18 Aidan Charlton (Mysercough College),19  Edward Webster (Mysercough College), 20 Ben King (Exeter College), 21 Alex Priest, 22 Brad Parker (Worthing College), 23 Lewis Allen (Burnley College), 24 Eldon Myers, (Hartlepool Sixth Form College).