9 February 2007
Ireland A 5 - 32 England Saxons
Although the Ravenhill regulars may be used to seeing the name Humphreys in the number 10 position, tonight it was not Ulster favourite David but his younger brother Ian who stepped up to take a shot at goal when his team was awarded a penalty for a late England tackle after a physical first 10 minutes. His attempt drifted wide but his opposite number Shane Geraghty didn't make the same mistake. The 20-year-old exile opened the visitors' account slotting an easy penalty at the other end shortly afterwards to give England a 3-0 lead after 16 minutes.
As the exchanges continued and, with both teams trying to impose their dominance, it took another quarter of an hour before the next score came. This time it was a try through hooker Dylan Hartley, but this was soon cancelled out by Rob Kearney's virtually immediate reply.
If the first half was a close affair, the second half was a different story. England played the corners, kicking intelligently to ease the pressure. The tactics paid off as the visitors bagged a hat trick of second half tries in the last 20 minutes to the delight of coach Jim Mallinder.
"The first 60 minutes were close", he said. "At times I thought we were just a little bit too keen and our discipline let us down, especially when we got into their half.
"In the second half we played for a bit more field position and virtually camped in their half at times. The pressure told in the end we're delighted to have come here and won. It's not an easy place to come away with a victory."
With the first quarter over, England started to settle and it wasn't long before they reaped the rewards. Having worked themselves into the Irish half with some good ball carries, they opted for a lineout when the Irish defence was caught offside. From the resulting maul, scrum half Peter Richards exploited a gap on the blind-side before offloading to hooker Dylan Hartley to muscle his way over within a whisker of the right corner flag.
With Geraghty unable to add the conversion, England's lead edged up to 8-0 but barely a minute had gone by before a try at the other end narrowed the deficit. This time it was left wing Rob Kearney's turn, after his pack were awarded a penalty from the resulting restart. Scrum half Conor O'Loughlin took the quick tap and feed the winger, who evaded Chev Walker's tackle and squeezed over in the left hard corner. The kick proved too challenging for Humphreys and the teams went into the second half with the score 8-5 in England's favour.
After the break the unrelenting pace continued. When England were awarded a penalty deep in their own half, flanker James Scaysbrook seized the opportunity with a quick tap, sprinting 20m before feeding World Cup veteran Mike Catt whose clearance reached the Irish 22. The pair were in action again as Scaysbrook turned over the ball from the tail of the lineout and, several drives later, Catt slotted a drop goal with 56 minutes on the clock.
England went close soon after as charges from lock Dean Schofield and later replacement flanker James Haskell were stopped just short but they were eventually awarded a penalty when the Irish defence was caught offside. Geraghty missed but made amends shortly afterwards by adding the extras to James Haskell's try after the flanker sprinted 20m down the left touchline to cross untouched under the posts to extend the score to 18-5 in England's favour.
When wing David Strettle weaved his way through several defenders to add England's third try, converted by Geraghty, Mallinder and Dorian West called for the replacements and Nick Wood, Richard Wigglesworth and debutant Ben Woods duly obliged. The fresh legs paid off as scrum half Wigglesworth crossed almost straight away, capitalising on a 50m break from England wing Mark Cueto. Geraghty hit the target again to add the extras to England's late scoring flurry and cap a convincing 32-5 victory, their second of the season.
Mike Brown (NEC Harlequins), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks), Chev Walker (Bath Rugby), Mike Catt (London Irish, captain), David Strettle (NEC Harlequins), Shane Geraghty (London Irish), Pete Richards (Gloucester Rugby), Tim Payne (London Wasps), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Stuart Turner (Sale Sharks), Dean Schofield (Sale Sharks), Alex Brown (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Jones (Sale Sharks), James Scaysbrook (Bath Rugby), Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)
Replacements: Andy Titterrell (Sale Sharks), Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby), Ben Woods (Newcastle Falcons), James Haskell (London Wasps), Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks), Olly Barkley (Bath Rugby), Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
Tries: Hartley, Haskell, Strrettle, Wigglesworth
Conversions: Geraghty (3)
Drop Goals: Catt
Substitutions: James Haskell (London Wasps) for Chris Jones (Sale Sharks) 33mins, Andy Titterrell (Sale Sharks) for Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) 66mins, Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby) for Stuart Turner (Sale Sharks) 71mins, Ben Woods (Newcastle Falcons) for James Scaysbrook (Bath Rugby) 73mins, Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks) for Peter Richards (Gloucester) 73mins, Olly Barkley (Bath Rugby) for Mike Catt (London Irish) 74mins.
Danny Riordan (Galwegians/Connacht), Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins), Barry Murphy (U.L. Bohemians/Munster), Kieran Lewis (St.Mary's College/Leinster), Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster), Ian Humphreys (Leicester Tigers), Conor O'Loughlin (Buccaneers/Connacht), Ronnie McCormack (UCD/Leinster), Frankie Sheahan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Bryan Young (Ballymena/Ulster), Trevor Hogan (Shannon/Leinster), Leo Cullen (Leicester Tigers, captain), Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster), Keith Gleeson (St.Mary's College/Leinster), Roger Wilson (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
Replacements: Bernard Jackman (Clontarf/Leinster), Peter Bracken (London Wasps), David Gannon (Connacht), Shane Jennings (Leicester Tigers), Kieran Campbell (Dungannon/Ulster), Johnny Sexton (St.Mary's College/Leinster), John Hearty (Galwegians/Connacht)
Substitutions: Shane Jennings (Leicester Tigers) for Keith Gleeson (St.Mary's College/ Leinster) 33 mins, Peter Bracken (London Wasps) for Ronnie McCormack (UCD/Leinster) 40mins, Bernard Jackman (Clontarf/Leinster) for Frankie Sheahan (Cork Constitution/ Munster), 53mins, David Gannon (Connacht) for Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster) 77mins,
Kieran Campbell (Dungannon/Ulster) for Conor O'Loughlin (Buccaneers/Connacht) 77mins, John Hearty (Galwegians/Connacht) for Barry Murphy (U.L. Bohemians/Munster) 77mins, Johnny Sexton (St.Mary's College/Leinster) for Ian Humphreys (Leicester Tigers), 77mins.
Half-time score: Ireland A 5 - 8 England Saxons
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)
For more information on England Saxons please contact England Saxons media manager Nicki Drinkwater on 07764 660187 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.rfu.com/saxons
Notes to Editors
Rights free training photos and action photos from England Saxons' LAST match against Italy A at Exeter Chiefs last week are available from Phil Mingo at Pinnacle photography. You can select your picture from http://ppauk.com then 01363 881025 or e-mail email@example.com with your image ref number to request a high res copy to be e-mailed direct.
England Saxons fixtures and results 2007
England Saxons 34 - 5 Italy A, Fri 2 February, Exeter Chiefs
Ireland A 5 - 32 England Saxons, Fri 9 February, Ravenhill, Belfast, kick off 7.44pm
Barclays Churchill Cup
18 May - 2 June 2007, England, venues still to be confirmed