BURNLEY College Sport Studies student Lewis Allen was instrumental in England Colleges’ highly-successful five day tour to Portugal.
The 18-year-old, with the squad for the first time, helped beat the Portugal Under 18 national team 2-0 in the series,with Allen providing key scores in both games.
Playing at the 37,000 seater Estádio Nacional in the outskirts of the city, England, captained by Joe Arrowsmith, beat Portugal 35-25 in the opening game.
The 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 Under 18 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 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 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 Allen.
A powerful display of scrummaging from the pack gave England a strong platform to launch attacks from all da,y 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. Allen 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 Allen added the extras.
Allen then scored the most dramatic try of match, although Eldon Myers did all the hard work.
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.
Allen 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 game.
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 was voted Player or the Tour by the coaching team.