Community Lions of England beat France at European Under-19 Championship

Emotions boiled over after the English Community Lions staged an emotional fightback to beat France in the European Under-19 Championships final in Italy on Saturday night – then dedicated their triumph to Gary McMahon, a member of the coaching staff whose death last weekend stunned the team and the wider Rugby League community.

Members of Gary’s family flew in to join the team on match day – and his son, Gary junior, picked Ince Rose Bridge’s Harry Penny as the man of the match following the 14-12 win over the ‘England.

They were also presented with Gary’s winner’s medal and a France jersey by Luc Lacoste, the president of the French Federation.

The team had decided to continue playing in Gary’s memory after last weekend’s trauma, only to be shaken again when Italy learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – which also raised concerns. questions as to whether the match would continue.

But they saw it as an opportunity to pay homage to Her Majesty, with a minute’s silence and the chanting of God Save the King before kick-off – at the end of a tournament memorable for other reasons, including the remarkable performances of a Team Ukraine whose presence was quite large, but who then defied expectations to reach the semi-finals.

Marc Lovering, RFL Director of Participation and Development, said: “No one could have imagined what awaited this group when we left England less than two weeks ago, and that explained the incredible emotion which followed Saturday’s final.

“The tragic loss of Gary McMahon put the trip in context, but the way the team responded was an inspiring example of the power of our sport. At a very difficult time, players and staff were reassured to knowing that Gary’s family was supported by the RL Cares Benevolent Fund and we were fortunate to have RL Cares Player Welfare Manager Steve McCormack with us while providing invaluable support.”

“How better to remember him than for the team to show such courage in winning such an absorbing and agonizing final – and we must pay tribute here to France, both for their performance in the tournament and the grace she showed by presenting her condolences to Gary, led by their president Luc Lacoste.

“It was also a special moment when the team sang God Save the King before the game started – they have certainly represented the country with great distinction over the past two weeks.

“But those two weeks were also important for the sport of Rugby League, best symbolized by Ukraine’s incredible achievements in building a squad, traveling to Italy and then reaching the semi-finals. It was wonderful to see them. hearing them cheer us on in the final, after we had built such strong relationships throughout the tournament – ​​and they even joined us on the pitch to celebrate, in scenes I don’t think any of us will forget.

“Congratulations also to Wales for finishing third and Italy for hosting the event.”

Three England players – Noah Lancelott of Leigh Miners Rangers, Scott Parnaby of Waterhead Warriors and Keiran Welburn of West Hull – have been named in the team of the tournament.

France led 8-0 at half-time thanks to a try from Justin Tropis and two goals from Thomas Monclus, but the Lions fought back when good work from Millom’s Jack Newbegin and Wigan St Judes’ Ryan Wood dispatched Lancelott in the left corner. Welburn scored superbly from the touchline to cut the deficit to two points and with Newbegin kicking well, the Lions played in the right areas and chased it all away.

After 64 minutes the Lions claimed a second try, again well finished by Lancelot and were ahead four minutes later when a good link up from midfield gave Siddal’s Harvey Oldroyd the space he needed need to complete.

That score put England 14-8 up, but France secured a nervous end when captain Arthur Salles pushed for a try which Monclus could not score after 76 minutes. The Lions regained the upper hand and looked much more likely to increase their lead in the knockout stages with their desire and solidarity prevailing for a remarkable victory.


16 Ryan Wood

2 Noah Lancelott

4 Callum Murphy

3Mekhi Bridgeman

5 Andy Djuekessi

6 Toby Hughes

14 Jack Newbegin

19 Matthew Parkes

9 Logan Holgate

10Josh Leeson

11 Harry Penny

12 Keiran Welburn

13 Scott Parnaby

Submarines (all used)

1Harvey Oldroy

8 Rio McQuistan

17 Kieran Dean

18 Dylan Turner

Sinbinned: Dylan Turner (38 – late tackle)

Tries: Lancelott (51, 64), Oldroyd (68).

Goals: Welburn 1/3.


1 Julien Laporte

2 Damien Huescar

3 Arthur Saddles

4 Maxime Barbet

5 Justin Tropis

6 Lenny Chachoua

7 Thomas Monclus

8 Romain Humbert

9 Ben Abdesle Yacine

10 Theo Fouque

11 Benjamin Sinimale

12Enzo Deltheil

13 Louis Grossemy

Submarines (all used)

14 Nolan Lopez-Buttignol

15 Sothene Ennoyotie

17 Salim Nahal

19 Rayan Tadjeur

Sinbinned: Sothene Ennoyotie (28 – late tackle)

Trials: Tropis (3), Salles (76).

Goals: Monclus 2/3.

Half time: 0-8

Referee: Kristoff Young (Wales).

Charles P. Patton