Old Albanian’s Cooper-Millar scores late winner for England Counties
Old Albanian’s Ollie Cooper-Millar scored a last-minute try as England Counties XV held their nerve to beat Emerging Georgia 15-14.
Cooper-Millar was one of three OAs in the side that featured Billy Johnson and Lawrence Rayner.
The win followed a 48-23 win over Emerging Georgia in last Wednesday’s tour opener and came after two one-point defeats by France Federale and Ireland Club XV earlier in the season.
While Emerging Georgia were able to re-inforce their side for the tour finale, the Counties XV lost three players – Will Radburn, Jesse Liston and Lewis Vinnicombe – to injuries and they had to fly out Blaydon and Yorkshire forward Gavin Jones to replace Tom Stradwick (Kent and Blackheath) whose tour was ended by a back injury.
Jones, who arrived in Tblisi on Saturday, was used as a second half replacement and made his presence felt to help the Counties to victory in heavy rain.
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Despite another try from wing Jim Wigglesworth (Cambridge and Yorkshire), his fifth in the two matches on tour, and a conversion and penalty from fly-half Rayner, the Counties XV were 14-10 as they clock ran down.
But Cooper-Millar was driven over for the winning try from a driving line-out with almost the final play of the match to complete a successful tour for the Counties XV, the flagship team of the community game in England.
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“The Georgians brought a few new players in which made a big difference and they were tough to break down,” said Matt Long, the England Counties XV manager.
“They were very physical again and the weather deteriorated during the game which meant that there were more mistakes, more scrums and that made it more difficult for us to break them down.
“But our replacements made a big impact when they came on, we stuck to our task well and Ollie got over from what was virtually the last play of the match.
“We’ve lost a couple of matches by a point this season and the England Counties U20s were also beaten by a point by Georgia a couple of weeks ago so it’s nice to win a tight one.”