In their second ever clash with England Knights, the Reggae Warriors fell to a heavy 4–56-points defeat at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle Stadium in Castleford. The match featured as Jordan Turner’s Testimonial and saw over two thousand fans in attendance on a cold Castleford evening.

 The Reggae Warriors started positively, going directly up the middle and traded set for set with England with Props Michael Lawrence and Ross Peltier showing plenty of steam. There was the opportunity to go for two points after a late hit on scrum-half Jy-mel Coleman resulted in a penalty. However, the Warriors choose to run the ball and gave up the easy two-point option.

Peltier barged over the try line on the 13-minute mark but was held up by the defence. Unfortunately, in the same attacking set, Jordan Turner’s attempted pass to Jacob Ogden was intercepted by Jack Broadbent and the speedy English centre raced 95 metres to open the scoring. Will Pryce converted as Jamaica trailed 0-6.

England got on the score sheet minutes later when Danny Walker scurried over the try line from dummy-half.  Pryce again booted the extra two.

Jamaica made it 4-12 when another raid on the left edge saw Ben Jones-Bishop bully his way over the line. Coleman missed the conversion and that was the closest the Warriors would get to England for the rest of the evening.

England’s pace across the field, brilliant ruck defence and overall ruthlessness when they had scoring chances saw them rack up an additional 8 tries as the game unfolded. Jamaica would have felt hopeful at halftime when the score was 4-24, but England made sure there was no way back for the Warriors.

“I think we started the game well, but the interception changed everything. We were a bit poor around the ruck and conceded too many tries there. We probably lacked a bit of effort in the second half too and kind of succumbed to the game,” said Jermaine Coleman, the Warriors head coach.

“But it was good for us to blow the cobwebs off as a couple of our boys haven’t played for five or six weeks now. It was probably difficult to keep in shape the right way to play against the best young players England have to offer. We have Scotland next week and we have the opportunity to put some things right.”

Meanwhile, Director of Rugby and Head Coach Romeo Monteith the game was a good test to show where the team needs to improve.

“England put in a good performance, and nothing less was expected from a squad with 17 young full-time players eager to prove they can step up to the full senior team,” he said.

“We only had three full-timers and 17-part timers, we all saw the gulf in fitness after 10 minutes and that’s the nature of the sport. We obviously aren’t pleased with the scoreline, but as a programme, we cannot be afraid to face the best players and nations in the world when given the opportunity. It was great being able to support Jordan Turner’s testimonial and for us to measure ourselves.

“Next week, our full ranking international against Scotland will be another big test, they have 10 Super League players, and we will have to lift ourselves on and off the field to get the job done.

 These games provide invaluable yardsticks on where we are and what we need to do to get better. We didn’t prepare and qualify for a World Cup by playing easy teams. Similarly, we are playing tough teams as we prepare for our World Cup debut and hope that will result in us being competitive and springing a surprise or two.”

Jamaica director of rugby and senior head coach Romeo Monteith and lead coach Jermaine Coleman have named their 21-man squad for Friday’s representative clash with England Knights at Castleford’s Mend-A-Hose Jungle. The match is also being played for Reggae Warrior and Tiger Jordan Turner’s testimonial.

With the 2021 Rugby League World Cup being postponed until late next year, Jamaica’s Reggae Warriors are set to play two internationals next month as the Jamaica Rugby League (JRL) intends to make the extra year count.

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