Ireland 'A' triumph over England 'A'
February 15, 2002
Tries from John Kelly and Tyrone Howe condemned England A to a 25-18 defeat, their first in two years at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.
An 18-point haul from fly-half Andy Goode was not enough for England, who conceded eight points during captain Nick Walshe's spell in the sin-bin, as their eight-match unbeaten run came to an end.
Aside from the two tries, Burke added five penalties for Ireland in a match that was nip and tuck right to the end.
Burke and Goode traded penalties in the opening eight minutes before Ireland got the first try of the game on 12 minutes.
Unfortunately for England the move began with a missed penalty by Burke after they had infringed at the scrum.
The fly-half's effort came back off the post and poor handling afforded Ireland a second scrum just five metres out.
Scrum-half Neil Doak fed the ball to Burke who slipped the pass to John Kelly for the centre to touchdown. Burke failed to add the extras.
Midway through the first half England pressure should have resulted in a try but some dogged defending by the Irish, couple with some poor decision-making by the home side saw the chance go begging.
England's efforts were eventually rewarded on 25 minutes with Goode's second penalty.
But seven minutes later Burke restored the five-point deficit when England were adjudged to be offside in their own 22 and Burke had a simple kick in front of the posts.
Alex Sanderson was held up over the line after some good driving play just before half-time and England were then penalised for collapsing the scrum as once again another attacking opportunity went begging.
Goode's third penalty a minute into first-half injury-time though, set-up an exciting second period.
England came out firing after the break and took the lead for the first time in the match inside the opening minute when Goode stepped up twice to convert penalty chances - the second a splendidly struck effort from just inside the Irish half.
But Burke pulled one back on 48 minutes to make it 15-14 before Ireland strayed offside again for Goode to take his points tally to 18.
England were reduced to 14 men just before the hour when Walshe was sent to the sin-bin for diving over at the ruck and Ireland almost took advantage instantly as they pressed down the right flank.
But as they spun the ball wide left excellent cover defence from Henry Paul and Sackey saw Howe bundled into touch.
Instead the visitors had to be content with another three points from Burke.
But in a cruel blow for England, Ireland scored their second try - a well executed effort again down the right flank - just before Walshe re-entered the fray.
Having broken the tackle Paddy Wallace slipped a neat pass Howe, who offloaded to Alan Quinlan, before running on the loop to catch the scoring pass to touch down in the corner.
Burke failed with the conversion. But made no mistake with the final penalty of the game.
England A: Perry, Sackey, Paul, Waters, Lewsey, Goode, Walshe, M. Worsley, Titterrell, Nebbett, A. Brown, Palmer, Buxton, Danaher, A. Sanderson.
Not Used: Fortey, Flatman, Sheridan, White-Cooper, Charlton, May, Christophers.
Pens: Goode 6.
Ireland A: P. Wallace, Darcy, Kelly, Mullins, Howe, Burke, Doak, Corrigan, Shields, Best, Cullen, Davidson, A. Quinlan, Gleeson, Costello.
Not Used: G. Hickie, Horan, Casey, Ward, Willis, Holland, A. Horgan.
Tries: Kelly, Howe.
Pens: Burke 5.
Ref: M Salera (Italy).
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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