OA’s captain Johnson honoured to skipper England Counties

Billy Johnson goes over the line to score

Billy Johnson goes over the line to score - Credit: Archant

Old Albanian flanker Billy Johnson was surprised and honoured to be appointed captain of England Counties XV for their 37-3 win over Scotland Club XV at Fykle on Friday evening.

Johnson marked his first appearance as captain with one of England’s six tries in a resounding victory but was also proud of his players for the way they came together as a squad after only three days of training.

It was a bit of a surprise when I got the call from Matt Long, the team manager, saying they had made me captain,” Johnson said.

“I wasn’t really expecting it but I was delighted to be given the opportunity to captain England Counties. It’s a team that I have been involved in for three or four years and it was massive honour to lead the group of lads that came together.

“There were times during the week when it was quite emotional. There were strange little times when someone said a few words and just how much it means to a lot of people to play for this team.

“We are playing for clubs in National One or lower. We all put a lot of time and effort into our rugby so it’s nice to get some recognition with selection for England Counties. It makes all those dark Tuesday and Thursday nights in mid-November and December at our clubs worthwhile. It’s nice to have a bit of recognition and reward for that.”

Johnson will have another chance to captain England Counties against France Federale XV in Perigueux on March 20 and he is already looking forward to renewing friendships formed at Fylde.

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“It’s a nice way to get to know people. Over the years you come up against people you have played with for Counties and it’s good to remember the times we have spent together. We will always remember moments like beating Scotland up at Fylde,” Johnson said.