Sheffield Eagles 32 London Broncos 20: Second win on trot as top-four fancies are beaten

Eagles man of the match Elliott Minchella congratulates Duane Straughier on the crucial  try which halted Broncos' revival. Photo: Simon Hall
Eagles man of the match Elliott Minchella congratulates Duane Straughier on the crucial try which halted Broncos' revival. Photo: Simon Hall
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Sheffield Eagles made it back-to-back victories in the Kingstone Press Championship with a 32-20 success over high-flying London Broncos.

A terrific first-half showing provided the bedrock for an impressive victory, with Elliot Minchella bagging a brace of tries as the Eagles built on the momentum gained from the success over Swinton.

Despite a handy cushion, agles were forced to brave strong second-half fight-back from Andrew Henderson’s Broncos, before sealing their third victory of the campaign to steer them clear of the foot of the table.

Director of rugby Mark Aston largely kept faith with the side that beat Swinton, with Ryan Millar replacing Reece Dean at full-back and Liam Johnson returning to the bench ahead of Perry Whiteley.

With confidence restored, Eagles dominated the first-half against a Broncos side well fancied for a top -four finish.

After an early setback following Jay Pitts’ try, Aston’s side were quickly into their stride to move into the lead on 15 minutes, Matty Fozard’s pass hitting a Broncos’ hand with Minchella reacting quickest to score, with Simon Brown converting.

Eagles were over again on 23 minutes after a superb move which saw several offloads on the last tackle before Minchella finished expertly, and Brown added the extras. Aston’s side produced another attractive move when Menzie Yere’s skilful flicked pass found Garry Lo who crossed in the corner. Brown converted.

Brown slotted a penalty to extend the lead, before some scrambled defence stopped Kieran Dixon from responding just before half-time.

It got better after half-time for the hosts when the impressive Yere barged his way through two tackles to cross the line, and Brown again converted.

It was looking like a routine win but London stunned the home side with a blistering five minute spell which included three tries.

Ben Evans crossed before Dixon superbly collected Jarrod Sammut’s kick to score and Sammut added the extras. Then Elliot Kear ran in under the sticks after good work from Mark Ioane, and Sammut converted.

But Eagles stemmed the tide and to grab the next try. Duane Straugheir collected a neat grubber kick to cross the whitewash, and Brown added the points.

Eagles successfully weathered some late London pressure for a deserved victory, their second at their adopted home at Wakefield’s Belle Vue.

Eagles: Miller; Lo, Yere, Spedding, Blackmore; Brown, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Mexico; James, Straugheir; Hope. Interchange: Burns, Trout, Scott, Johnson.

Scorers: Tries: Minchella (15, 23), Lo (34), Yere (48), Straugheir (68) Goals: Brown 6/6

London: Kear; Williams, Hellewell, Purtell, Dixon; Sammut, Barthau; Evans, Foster, Ioane; Harrison, Pitts; Cunningham. Interchange: Pewhairangi, Gee, Roqica, Adebiyi.

Scorers: Tries: Pitts (7), Evans (50), Dixon (52), Kear (54) Goals: Sammut 2/4.

Referee: Tom Crashley.

Attendance: 319.