Double the Counties fun for Love
Ealing Trailfinders’ James Love can now count himself among the club’s England Counties alumni following two appearances for the side in February and March.
Counties are the representative side of English community rugby with players up to National 1 level eligible for selection. In the past Phil Chesters, Owen Bruynseels and Tom Wheatcroft won caps for the England Counties team and Vallis Way hosted their match against France Federale XV in 2013.
The fullback came off the bench in the Counties’ two wins; 37-3 over Scotland at Fylde’s Woodlands Memorial Field in which he scored a try and the 24-15 against France Federale at the Stade Francais Rongieras in Perigueux.
“It was a very good experience and I enjoyed it very much, ” he said. “It is another thing to add to the rugby CV and it was a great experience and I can only take positive things from it.
“It was nice to get over the line and my grandparents were there as they live down the road.”
“I’ve represented my country as such for the Arabian Gulf, so that was always an honour, but my parents are English so to put an English rose on is also an honour. You are representing your country and it doesn’t matter what level it is, you wear it with pride and play with pride and I think that showed in our victory over France.
The 27-year-old Love is no stranger to representative rugby having played both 15s and 7s for the Arabian Gulf RFU having been born and brought up in Bahrain’s capital, Manama.
The squad met up at Myerscough College in Preston ahead of the match against Scotland on Friday, 27 February and then reconvened in the week of the match against France, before flying to Bordeaux and travelling from there to Perigueux.
The team was led by James Shanahan, a coach not averse to throwing the ball wide and captained by Fylde back-rower Evan Stewart, but their hopes of playing running rugby were thwarted by a physical French side and the conditions on the night.
“Scotland they were slightly weaker than France and we put a good performance in against them and it was a convincing win, ” Love said.
“We knew we had a big challenge going to France to play France at their home ground and it was a quite a hostile environment. We knew we would have to put a massive performance in to beat them and luckily as a group we pulled it together.”
“We gelled very well and became a close-knit group in a short period of time and that is what made us a successful touring side; a bunch of guys who pull together and become mates and you can see that from the results.”