Knights put Ireland to sword
England second string run in 11 tries in Exiles curtain raiser
Last Updated: 16/06/12 7:03pm
England Kniights: Strength in depth
England Knights gave national team coach Steve McNamara the comfort of knowing he has strength in depth as they demolished Ireland 62-4 on Saturday.
In the curtain raiser for England's meeting with the Exiles, the red rose's second string ran in 11 tries during a one-sided encounter in testing conditions at Langtree Park.
McNamara is not short on options for his side - the likes of Tom Briscoe and Danny Brough were jettisoned this week - but he is open to having his mind changed and several of Keiron Purtill's players did their best to do just that.
Stand-out performers included Leeds' two-try centre Zak Hardaker, the half-back pairing of Stefan Ratchford and Matty Smith and Hull KR hooker Josh Hodgson.
The Knights set about their eye-catching mission well by opening the scoring in the sixth minute when Hardaker touched Smith's kick down.
Ireland however impressed after that, with Adam Hughes only denied a try by Jermaine McGilivray's tackle, although the Huddersfield winger injured himself in the process and was replaced.
The home side increased their lead on 19 minutes when Ben Jones-Bishop latched onto Ratchford's looping cut-out pass to go over in the corner.
But Ireland responded with a try of their own nine minutes later when centre John O'Donnell went in on an angled run to score.
Featherstone's Liam Finn dragged his touchline conversion attempt just wide, ending his world-record run of 41 successive goal kicks.
Chris Riley crossed after a neat pass from Ratchford to cancel out the Irish try and Hardaker barged over before the break to increase the lead.
The Irish looked increasingly tried after the break and Smith took advantage to claim a well-deserved try nine minutes after the restart after collecting Dale Ferguson's excellent offload.
Jodie Broughton showed some neat finishing ability to get around Joseph Taylor and dot down in the corner for England's sixth.
And a flowing three-man move that included Scott Taylor, Chris Clarkson and Smith ended with Mark Flanagan going in under the posts for number seven.
With the game effectively over as a contest and England seemingly able to score at will, Hodgson, Ratchford and Shaun Lunt and Jones-Bishop all found their way onto the scoresheet before the close.