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23rd February 2018, 11:33 | england_lions

Commonwealth Championship Group Stage round-up

Commonwealth Championship Group Stage round-up

A heroic end to day one for the England Lions u23s.

England Lions u23s 10-28 Samoa

A tough start for the Lions as a high-class Samoa side swept to a comfortable group stage win.

Samoa flew out of the blocks to rack up a 14-0 half-time lead, before extending their advantage shortly into the second half with another try.

But England began to find their feet thereafter, Orrell St James' Sam Baggaley pouncing on a loose kick before converting to score England's first try of the tournament.

Samoa went on to add another try, but England got in again as Sam Rochford of Underbank Rangers bounced over from close range to round off the scoring.

England Lions u23s 6-12 Tonga

Tonga, eventual group winners, were up next in a close-run affair.

England began the game on top and got the start they deserved as Leigh Miners Rangers' Frankie Halton his way over to break the deadlock.

He converted his score to give England a 6-0 lead.

But Tonga struck back not long after to leave England 6-4 up at the interval.

As the weather began to take hold on the tie, Tonga powered forward and scored out wide despite a valiant chase back by Greg Howland.

They then added another in the closing minutes - a classy long-range effort - which left them in pole position to win the group.

England Lions u23s 12-4 Papua New Guinea

England's final clash came against 2014 Commonwealth Championship winners, Papua New Guinea.

Captain Danny Ryding and vice-captain Cole Walker-Taylor were forced to sit out the final game, while Tyler Spence remained unavailable and Sam Rochford limped off after just a minute of action.

The odds were stacked against the Lions, and they looked to be heading for defeat as PNG opened scoring in torrential rain and held their 4-0 lead until half time.

But Allan Coleman's men were in inspired form in the second period and turned the game on its head.

Underbank's Owen Restall kicked things off, flying down the wing to equalise.

The Lions were running hot and Liam Quinn (Thatto Heath Crusaders) got in just a minute later, dotting down after some confusion in the PNG defence.

Then Sam Baggaley rounded off a remarkable team performance with a stirring interception try to make the final score 12-4 to England, which sets up a clash with Wales in game one of the Finals Day (1.10am kick off UK time).

Commonwealth Championship 9s | England's top scorers:

Sam Baggaley 2

Sam Rochford 1

Liam Quinn 1

Frankie Halton 1

Owen Restall 1

Upcoming England fixture:

v Wales - 11.10am (1.10am UK time)

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Day One results:

Men's u23s:

  • Tonga 22 – 8 Samoa
  • Australia 30 – 0 Wales
  • Fiji 14 – 10 Scotland
  • Samoa 28 – 10 England
  • Tonga 20 – 12 PNG
  • Australia 36 – 0 Scotland
  • Fiji 12 – 4 Wales
  • Samoa 16 – 14 PNG
  • Tonga 12 – 6 England
  • Scotland 24 – 0 Wales
  • Australia 24 – 4 Fiji
  • England 12 – 4 PNG


  • Samoa 24 – 6 Fiji
  • Tonga 8 – 4 Canada
  • Australia 26 – 4 Samoa
  • Tonga 12 – 4 Cook Islands
  • Cook Islands 20 – 12 Canada
  • Australia 24 – 0 Fiji

Physical Disability:

  • New Zealand 4 – 0 Commonwealth All Stars
  • Australia 8 – 0 Commonwealth All Stars
  • Australia 6 – 0 New Zealand

Day two fixtures:

  • 10.45am – Ranking semi-final - Scotland v Papua New Guinea
  • 11.10am – Ranking semi-final - England v Wales (1.10am)
  • 1pm – Major semi-final - Australia v Samoa
  • 1.25pm – Major semi-final - Tonga v Fiji
  • 2.15pm – Bowl Final
  • 2.40pm – Shield Final
  • 5.25pm – Bronze medal match
  • 5.50pm – Gold medal match