England warm up in style
Wales thrashed 74-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium
Last Updated: 10/10/08 11:00pm
Purdham: enhanced reputation
England ran in 14 tries to thrash Wales 74-0 in their final warm-up game before they fly out to Australia for the World Cup.
Only eight of Tony Smith's squad for the global showpiece were on display in the Gillette Fusion International at the Keepmoat Stadium - all 15 Leeds and St Helens players were given a rest following their exertions in the engage Super League play-offs.
That gave an opportunity for some fringe squad members to press their claims for a spot in England's starting line-up for the World Cup opener against Papua New Guinea in Townsville on October 25.
And Rob Purdham did just that with a 20-point haul from a try and eight goals, while captain Martin Gleeson, Shaun Briscoe, Richard Myler and Paul Sykes each bagged two tries.
Wales enjoyed some early territory thanks to veteran scrum-half Ian Watson's clever kicks before the white tide gathered momentum.
It was one-way traffic from the moment loose forward Purdham, one of three Harlequins players making their full international debuts, sidestepped his way to the line in the fifth minute for the first of eight first-half tries.
Mickey Higham caused havoc in the Wales defence with his runs from dummy half, frequently releasing Gleeson - playing out of position at stand-off - into space to work his magic.
Gleeson and centre Sykes both scored two first-half tries apiece and others came from Mark Calderwood, full-back Briscoe and 18-year-old scrum half Myler.
Wales trailed 36-0 when they created their first clear-cut scoring chance but centre Aled James, one of seven Celtic Crusaders players, was denied by video referee Ashley Klein.
It took England less than a minute of the second half to extend their lead, with second rower Gareth Hock's trademark offload enabling substitute Tony Clubb to register a try on debut with his first memorable touch.
Hock quickly followed Clubb over the line to bring up England's half-century and they demonstrated their eagerness to keep their own line intact when centre Michael Shenton bundled Wales winger Damien Gibson into the corner flag.
England looked likely to score with every move and even young Myler did not look out of place among the class acts as he finished off a break by Purdham to claim his second try.
Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook plunged over from close range on 55 minutes for his side's 12th try, and the gifted Myler carved out a second try for Briscoe.
Hull KR winger Peter Fox became the 10th Englishman to get across the whitewash with the 14th and final try.
The result bettered England's previous best win over Wales, a 60-13 triumph at St Helens in 1978.