Saxons clinch Churchill Cup glory
June 21, 2008
England Saxons put in a fine second half showing against Scotland A to win the Churchill Cup final 36-19 in Chicago.
Gloucester's talented fly-half Ryan Lamb narrowly edged a compelling duel with opposite number Gordon Ross, firing home four penalties and two conversions, while there were tries from Matt Banahan, Nick Abendanon, Jordan Crane and Ugo Monye.
Ross kicked 14 points for the Scots, for whom Colin Gregor touched down.
Scotland made the first impression on the scoreboard when Ross slipped a drop-goal attempt between the posts after 10 minutes.
Lamb soon put Saxons on level terms just two minutes later, though, after Scotland conceded a penalty which he coolly converted.
But the fierce pace continued with the third score in four minutes when England conceded a penalty of their own, Ross making it 6-3 with the kick.
Indiscipline continued to reign and after 18 minutes England were again level, Lamb steering home his second penalty.
Bath wing Banahan then put England ahead for the first time, touching down for the game's first try with 25 minutes on the clock.
Lamb added the extras with his third successful kick from three attempts to give Steve Bates' men a 13-6 advantage.
Ross and Lamb traded penalties once more before half-time to make it 16-9 with Lamb's 40th-minute effort the last meaningful action of the half.
It took just four minutes of the second period for Scotland to grab the try they had been striving for the previous 40, Colin Gregor the man to cross the whitewash.
Ross applied the extras to bring the scores level before another accurate penalty handed the initiative to his side.
But the kicking match between him and Lamb continued, the latter taking the chance to make it 19-19 after 64 minutes.
For the second time in the night, England threw a tight match wide open with a vital try - Abendanon going over with 23 minutes remaining, with Lamb extending the lead to seven with the conversion.
Back-rower Crane followed Abendanon with a score of his own in the 75th minute to all but seal the win. Lamb was, for once, off target with the conversion but at 31-16 it looked academic.
There was time for one more score, though, England's Harlequins back Monye breaking through in the dying seconds and Lamb kicking wide again to make it 36-19.
Scotland A (9) 19 England Saxons (16) 36
Scotland A: Tries: Gregor. Cons: Ross. Pens: Ross 3. Drop Goals: Ross.
Scotland A: Jones, Robertson, Dewey, MacRae, Reid, Ross, Gregor, Kalman, Thomson, Young, Pringle, Turner, Eddie, MacDonald, Swindall.
Replacements: McMillan for Robertson (50), Blair for Reid (67), Kelly for Thomson (59), Corsar for Young (55), Dunbar for Pringle (41), Newlands for Swindall (65).
Not Used: Thompson.
England Saxons: Tries: Banahan, Abendanon, Crane, Monye. Cons: Lamb 2. Pens: Lamb 4.
England Saxons: Abendanon, Monye, Smith, Allen, Banahan, Lamb, Hodgson, Clarke, Chuter, Forster, Jones, Skivington, Robshaw, Skinner, Crane.
Replacements: Foden for Banahan (79), Dickson for Hodgson (80), French for Clarke (55), Titterrell for Chuter (75), Hooper for Jones (67), Armitage for Robshaw (55).
Not Used: Jarvis.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September