ENGLAND SAXONS are on course for their third successive Churchill Cup with a much improved performance over USA.
Report courtesy www.england-rugby.com.
After not performing to their best against Argentina Jaguars last weekend, where they struggled to squeeze a 28-20 victory, England Saxons returned to Infinity Park, Denver to put the hosts to the sward.
In hot conditions Saxons’ set piece shone and allowed the backs to run in four tries with the forwards adding a further three. Man of the Match Stephen Myler only missed one early conversion.
Saxons made late changes with Dan Cole coming off the bench to start for Tom Mercey who was ruled out with a groin strain and Mark Lambert was promoted to the bench.
First half tries from Nick Kennedy, Micky Young and Rob Webber plus three Myler penalties put England on 26-10 advantage at the break.
And second half scores from Tom Varndell, Brad Barritt and Noah Cato including, another three conversions sent England Saxons to their third successive final.
USA added a try in each half from Mike Petri and replacement hooker Chris Biller with Mike Hercus adding two conversions and a penalty.
Myler scored his first points in the fourth minute slotting a penalty after USA were caught offside.
Some sloppy defending by England from the restart saw USA on the attack and they were rewarded with Junior Sifa slipping the defence to pass inside to Mike Petri for the five points, Mike Hercus added the conversion 7-3.
Saxons answered back with Ben Woods putting USA under pressure in their own try area. The hosts attempted a clearing kick which was incepted by Kennedy for him to charge over. Myler missed his only kick at goal to hold the scores at 7-8 in the tenth minute.
Another Myler penalty followed and then another, after USA went down to 14 men when Roland Suniula was sent off for a high tackle on Barritt taking the scores to, 7-14.
At the restart England were penalised for holding on at the ruck and Hercus slotted over another three points to keep the scoreboard ticking over 10-14.
A sparkling break from Cato relieved some pressure with Nick Abendanon scooping a loose ball to carry England to their line. Young popping up from the ruck weaving through the USA pack to run over, 21-10.
Saxons had the last say of the half after a clearing kick by USA reached touch and was taken quickly by Abendanon for Cato to bring up-field towards the line. Young threw inside to Webber for him to go over to send them in at the break with an 18 point lead, 10-28.
As the rain came down in the second half England Saxons were back on the board, a scorching run, saw Guest charge over after receiving a pass from Woods from an overthrown USA lineout, 10-35.
England’s backline got to work in the 50 minute after captain Phil Dowson passed out a deflected ball which saw a 80 metre dash by Abendanon, Cato, Barritt and Myler with the ball eventually reaching Dominic Waldouck in the centre who passed out to Varndell for him to slip over under the posts, 10-42.
Minutes later another midfield break by Waldouck saw him passing outside to Barritt, for him to go over, 10-49.
USA were rewarded with the forwards driving over after Saxons succumbed to pressure on their line, 17-49.
With five minutes left in play, Cato had the last say, flying up the left wing to dodge inside the USA defence to take the final scores to, 17-56.
England Saxons: 15 Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby), 14 Noah Cato (Saracens), 13 Dominic Waldouck (London Wasps), 12 Brad Barritt (Saracens), 11 Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers),10 Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), 9 Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons),1 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), 2 Rob Webber (London Wasps), 3 David Flatman (Bath Rugby), 4 Peter Short (Bath Rugby), 5 Nick Kennedy (London Irish), 6 Phil Dowson (Newcastle Falcons, captain), 7 Ben Woods (Leicester Tigers), 8 Tom Guest (Harlequins).
Replacements: 16 Mark Lambert (Harlequins) rep Flatman (59),17 Neil Briggs (Sale Sharks) rep Kennedy (59), 18 Chris Jones (Sale Sharks) rep Guest (56), 19 Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby) rep Woods (50), 20 Joe Simpson (London Wasps) rep Young (71), 21 Danny Cipriani (London Wasps) rep Abendanon (51), 22 Matt Smith (Leicester Tigers) rep Varndell (71).
Scorers: Tries: Kennedy, Webber, Young, Guest, Barritt, Varndell, Cato; Pens: Myler (3); Cons: Myler (6).
Sin binned: None
USA: 15 Ata Malifa (Belmont Shore RFC), 14 Colin Hawley (California),13 Junior Sifa (Middleton RFC),12 Roland Suniula (Pearl City RFC),11 Alipate Tuilevuka (Provo Steelers),10 Mike Hercus (Sunshine Coast Stingrays), 9 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club),1 Matekitonga Moeakiola (Park City Haggis),2 Brian McClenahan (Olympic Club),3 Shawn Pittman (Bayside RFC), 4 John Van Der Giessen (Denver Barbarians),5 Hayden Smith (Saracens),6 Todd Clever (Xerox Lions, captain),7 Peter Dahl (Belmont Shore RFC),8 Nic Johnson (Denver Barbarians).
Replacements: 16 Chris Biller (California), 17 Brian Lemay (Boston Irish Wolfhounds),18 Louis Stanfill (New York Athletic Club),19 J.J Gagiano (Univ. of Cape Town), 20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC), 21 Tai Enosa (Tempe Rugby Football), 22 Paul Emerick (Overmach Parma).
Scorers: Tries: Petri, Biller; Pens: Hercus; Cons: Hercus (2)
Sin binned: Roland Suniula (19min)
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)Tweet