Skipper Johnson scores as England Counties beat Scotland Clubs

Billy Johnson
Billy Johnson

Hertfordshire flanker Billy Johnson was given the honour of captaining England Counties and powered over from close range for a try to contribute towards his side’s 37-3 win over Scotland Clubs XV.

His county and Old Albanians club colleague Brett McNamee, starting at hooker, also contributed to the victory at Fylde.

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

“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.”

Counties XV and former Hertfordshire coach James Shanahan praised the ethos of the flagship representative team of community rugby in England, which is selected from players playing for clubs outside of the top two tiers in English club rugby.

“It’s the opportunity to put an England shirt on which they are never likely to do at the top, top level,” Shanahan said.

“It’s the chance to work in a full-time environment with professional coaches and the chance to play with players they face every week in and week out in the National Leagues.

“But we represent a lot of rugby players. You take out the top two leagues and there are another 10 leagues underneath and that is what we represent.”

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.