- Flanker Fraser grabs decisive try inside last 10 minutes at the Sportsground
- Three Ford penalties finish the job for Saxons against experienced home side
O2 Ireland Wolfhounds 10 England Saxons 14
Will Fraser's late try earned an impressive win for England Saxons as their forward power made the difference against an experienced Ireland Wolfhounds side in Galway.
Photo: Getty Images
A side with an average age of less than 24 - and sharing 23 international caps - might have made really heavy weather of facing an experienced Ireland side away from home.
Instead they soaked up first half pressure playing into the wind, dominated long spells and then snatched the vital score inside the last 10 minutes.
Saracens flanker Fraser produced an athletic dive into the corner to finish off a sustained spell of pressure.
And fly half George Ford added three difficult penalties and controlled the latter stages with maturity to make sure of the result.
Head Coach Jon Callard fielded a young side with plenty of back line talent in the shape of Elliot Daly, Christian Wade and Joel Tomkins, who all showed up well despite a limited number of chances coming their way.
More prominent were the traditional virtues, though, with Gloucester loose head Nick Wood the dominant influence series of scrums from which the Wolfhounds were lucky to escape without conceding a penalty try before the interval.
They were 10-0 to the good then, having piled round the back of a succession of lineouts for Leinster's Kevin McLaughlin to force his way over in the right-hand corner 10 minutes into the game with Paddy Jackson converting.
The Ulster fly half then added a penalty five minutes before half time but already the tide had turned.
Even with the wind in their favour the Wolfhounds were troubled. Andrew Trimble had batted away one potential scoring pass from Jordan Crane that was floated towards Bath's Tom Biggs and Daly ensured the visitors finished the half on a high with a chip and chase halted five metres from the line.
Ireland made front row changes at the break but the Wolfhounds conceded another penalty five minutes later so that Ford, who hit the post with his only first half effort, could get his side on the board at last.
He struck again in the 62nd minute when the Wolfhounds went in at the side of a ruck before the sustained phases that led to Jackson's finish wide on the right. Half a dozen players handled before he struck with the Television Match Official judging he had got the ball down while airborne before being bundled into touch.
Ford couldn't convert but made it 14-0 with an excellent third effort five minutes from time, just reward from a gritty evening’s work from England’s rising stars.
England Saxons: E Daly (London Wasps); C Wade (London Wasps), J Tomkins (Saracens), J Turner-Hall (Harlequins), T Biggs (Bath Rugby); G Ford (Leicester Tigers), R Wigglesworth (Saracens); N Wood (Gloucester Rugby), J Gray (Harlequins), P Doran-Jones (Northampton Saints), G Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), G Robson (Harlequins), G Kruis (Saracens), W Fraser (Saracens), J Crane (Leicester Tigers, captain).
Replacements: R Buchanan (Harlequins) for Gray 58, M Mullan (Worcester Warriors) for Wood 64, K Brookes (Leicester Tigers) for Doran Jones 60, E Slater (Leicester Tigers) for Kruis 60, J Simpson (London Wasps) for Wigglesworth 64, G Lowe (Harlequins) for Turner-Hall 68, K Eastmond (Bath Rugby).
Scorers: Try: Fraser. Penalties: Ford 3
Ireland Wolfhounds: R Henshaw (Connacht); A Trimble (Ulster), D Cave (Ulster), D McSharry (Connacht), L Fitzgerald (Leinster); P Jackson (Ulster), P Marshall (Ulster); D Kilcoyne (Munster), M Sherry (Munster), M Bent (Leinster), L Stevenson (Ulster), D Toner (Leinster), K McLaughlin (Leinster), T O’Donnell (Munster), J Coughlin (Munster, Captain).
Replacements: D Fitzpatrick (Ulster) for Bent 41, I Boss (Leinster) for Marshall 52, D Varley (Munster) for Sherry 63, T Court (Ulster) for Kilcoyne 41, I Henderson (Ulster) for McLaughlin 63, I Madigan (Leinster) for Henshaw 58, I Keatley (Munster) for McSharry 69
Scorers: Try: McLaughlin. Conversion: Jackson. Penalty: Jackson
Referee: R Davies (WRU)