England 44-6 France: Tom Johnstone scores hat-trick in warm-up for New Zealand Test series

Tom Johnstone
Tom Johnstone scored a first-half hat-trick on his England debut
Warm-up Test
England (38) 44
Tries: T Burgess, Johnstone 3, Myler, Thompson, Whitehead, Connor Goals: Connor 5, Percival
France (0) 6
Tries: Fages Goals: Barthau

England warmed up for their three-Test series against New Zealand with a convincing 44-6 win over France in front of 5,144 at Leigh Sports Village.

Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone scored a 25-minute hat-trick on his debut as England took a 38-0 first-half lead.

Tom Burgess set the tone when he scored after one minute, with Richie Myler, Luke Thompson and Elliott Whitehead also crossing before the break.

Hull FC's Jake Connor scored the hosts' only try of the second half.

That try was converted by Mark Percival, after Connor had kicked five previous goals - while Theo Fages added a late consolation for France, converted by Willie Barthau.

With the Grand Final contingent from Wigan and Warrington not considered for selection, England coach Wayne Bennett named eight debutants in his squad.

Bennett was impressed by Johnstone, but suggested St Helens' Tom Makinson would start the first Test after being rested against France.

"We're pretty well covered in those positions, but he's someone I've noticed in the last 12 or 18 months and I've been waiting to give him an opportunity," he said.

"He's played well tonight but Tommy Makinson is a pretty fair player. He's certainly got a future on the wing for England if it's not this year.

"There were a couple of players I hadn't seen play before, so I learned a bit about them."

England's next outing will be the first Test against New Zealand at Hull FC's KCOM Stadium on 27 October.

They then face the Kiwis at Anfield in Liverpool on 4 November and at Leeds' Elland Road on 11 November, all of which will be live on BBC TV and radio.

England: James Shaul (Hull FC); Tom Johnstone (Wakefield), Reece Lyne (Wakefield), Mark Percival (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield); Richie Myler (Leeds), Jake Connor (Hull FC); James Graham (St. George Illawarra Dragons), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Oliver Holmes (Castleford), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Interchanges: Adam Milner (Castleford), Luke Thompson (St Helens), Robbie Mulhern (Hull KR), Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds).

France: Stanislas Robin; Paul Marcon, Tony Gigot, Bastien Ader, Hakim Miloudi; Theo Fages, William Barthau; Lambert Belmas, Alrix Da Costa, Bastien Canet, Benjamin Jullien, Mickael Goudemand, Jason Baitieri.

Interchanges: Anthony Marion, Thibaud Margalet, Valentin Yesa, Bastien Escamilla.

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