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England Saxons stumble to 14-8 defeat

25 January 2014

  • England Saxons lose 14-8 to Ireland Wolfhounds in Gloucester
  • Anthony Watson try and Freddie Burns penalty with England's points

England Saxons 8-14 O2 Ireland Wolfhounds

Anthony Watson strikes in the first half at Kingsholm

Photo: Getty Images

England Saxons fell to a disappointing 14-8 defeat against an experienced Ireland Wolfhounds side in front of over 8,000 fans at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium. 

Bath wing Anthony Watson scored England’s only try, while Gloucester’s Freddie Burns added a penalty, but Ireland struck twice – first through scrum half Isaac Boss and then fly half Ian Madigan. 

Despite having over 60 per cent possession during the game England couldn’t capitalise, although they came close to a second try in the dying moments through impressive Wasps centre Elliot Daly. 

The Saxons fielded a youthful line-up with only eight caps-worth of senior international experience in the shape of Gloucester’s Charlie Sharples (four caps) and Freddie Burns (three), and Wasps’ scrum half Joe Simpson. 

They were looking for a third successive win over Ireland after tight wins in Exeter and Galway in the previous two seasons but trailed early on. 

The Wolfhounds drove close-range lineout and Boss broke round the back of the maul to elude two tacklers with Madigan’s conversion putting them 7-0 up in the fifth minute. The Saxons retained plenty of possession but it took them 20 minutes to strike back with Watson pouncing on an Irish error. 

He was pressing up on Darren Cave and when the ball ricocheted away off the centre’s chest the Bath wing accelerated away from 50 metres to score. Burns’s conversion effort hit the post though and the Wolfhounds produced another piece of quick-witted work on the half-hour. 

Madigan’s tapped penalty was followed by a twist over the line and the Leinster fly half converted his own try for a 14-5 lead his side held at the break. The Saxons had a stiff breeze at their backs in the second half and dominated territory after that but the closest they came to reducing the deficit was when Burns hit the left-hand upright from 30 metres out. 

The arrival of Northampton Saints No.8 Sam Dickinson added some more momentum and his powerful carrying set up the position for Burns to kick a first penalty on the hour to leave his side trailing by six points going into the final quarter. 

Some quick hands freed up Elliot Daly with five to go but the former England Under 20 international was stopped just short of the line, and he had another chance in the final play but was held up just short before Burns made a dive for the corner but it wasn’t to be. 

England Saxons now look ahead to next Friday where they take on Scotland A. 

England Saxons: Elliot Daly (London Wasps); Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Matt Hopper (Harlequins; Rob Miller, Sale Sharks, 41), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs; Henry Slade, Exeter Chiefs 31), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby); Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Simpson (London Wasps; Dave Lewis, Exeter Chiefs 74); Alex Waller (Northampton Saints; Nathan Catt, Bath Rugby 60), Jamie George (Saracens; Dave Ward, Harlequins 64), Tom Mercey (Northampton Saints; Scott Wilson, Newcastle Falcons 41), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins; Elliott Stooke, Gloucester Rugby 50), George Kruis (Saracens), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints, captain), Luke Wallace (Harlequins), Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs; Sam Dickinson, Northampton Saints, 50). 

O2 Ireland Wolfhounds: Felix Jones (Munster); Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht; Ian Keatley, Munster 60), Darren Cave (Ulster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster; Simon Zebo, Munster 50; Ian Madigan (Leinster), Isaac Boss (Leinster); David Kilcoyne (Munster; Jack McGrath, Leinster 51), Rob Herring (Ulster; Richardt Strauss, Leinster 51), Martin Moore (Leinster; Stephen Archer, Munster, 50), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Tommy O’Donnell (Munster), Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues). 

Replacements: Robbie Diack (Ulster) Jordi Murphy (Leinster) Kieran Marmion (Connacht) 

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)