Gillam scores twice for the Irish

Date published: Monday, October 25, 2010

JOHN Gillam scored two tries — to add to his brace against France on his international debut — but Ireland were beaten 44-22 by Scotland in Dublin to finish bottom of the pile in the Alitalia European Cup.

With Gregg McNally at full-back, Gillam on the left wing and Wayne Kerr and Matty Ashe on the bench Roughyeds were once again well represented in the green of the Emerald Isle.

Coaches Andy Kelly and our own Tony Benson must have been delighted to see Ireland command an 18-4 interval lead, but their Scottish counterpart Steve McCormack gave his boys a stern talking to at the interval and Scotland emerged for the second half like a team inspired.

They turned the game on its head to run in 28 unanswered points and lead 32-18 before Gillam went in for his second try in the 65th minute.

Over in France, meanwhile, Iestyn Harris’s Wales were pulling off a fairytale 12-11 win against the hot competition favourites to qualify spectacularly for next year’s Four Nations in the UK alongside England, Australia and New Zealand.

Lloyd White’s late penalty goal sealed it for Wales after skipper Gareth Thomas and North Wales youngster Rhys Williams had scored tries to rock the French earlier in the game.

A thrilled Harris said: “It was important to us to win this competition and the benefits for Wales Rugby League will come to fruition over the next 12 months.

“Wales RL has passed through some dark days in the past four or five years but to qualify for an elite World competition next year is testament to everyone involved in Wales Rugby League. That’s the people who go into schools in Wales to teach rugby league to children to the junior coaches in Wales to what they’ve achieved with youngsters coming through.

“If we keep on improving who knows how far we can go? It was fitting that Lloyd White should kick the winning goal because he was our stand-out player in this tournament.

“If he keeps heading in the direction he’s going in the sky’s the limit for him as it is for all of us here at Wales Rugby League.”