#1
RUGBY UNION

The all-dominating England Saxons inevitably beat Scotland "A" in Chicago to win the Churchill Cup....again.

The Scots were destroyed by the English just as they were at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.

England Saxons are unbeaten in this tournament for the last two years and have won four of the last six tournament, including the last two in a row.

Many of the England Saxons stars, such as Abendanon, Monye, Lamb and Crane are hoping to make it into Martin Johnson's first senior England squad...

England Saxons Win Churchill Cup 2008

By RFU Report
June 22 2008


CHURCHILL CUP FINAL
England Saxons 36 - 19 Scotland A

Toyota Park, Chicago

Fabulous England Saxons put Scots to sword to retain Barclays Churchill Cup


England Saxons crowned a two year unbeaten run with a 36-19 victory over Scotland A to defend the Barclays Churchill Cup title in Chicago today.

In an outstanding display of talent and tenacity the Saxons twice came from behind to run four tries, including one apiece for the tournament's Most Valuable Player Jordan Crane and top try scorer Matt Banahan, with fly half Ryan Lamb contributing 16 points with the boot.

The victory is England's fourth in the six years since the tournament was launched and the second on the run.

Said head coach Steve Bates afterwards, "This squad has been an absolute pleasure to work with.

"Today was a great all round team performance. By winning the tournament we've achieved what we set out to do and played some great rugby along the way.

"The Scots put in a very competitive performance and it took longer that we expected to break them down. But we stuck to our guns well and although it was a pretty even game for about an hour, we stepped it up after that."

Although the winning margin was comfortable, the game hung in the balance for the first hour, with the only points of the first quarter coming from the boots of fly halves Ryan Lamb and Gordon Ross.

Having almost crossed in the opening minutes, second later the Saxons found themselves defending their own line after a series of attacks from the powerful Scottish midfield.

But unable to penetrate, Ross settled for a drop goal, which Lamb quickly negated with the first of four penalties. Although the pair each added another penalty, it wasn't until the game entered the second quarter that England finally found the try line.

With the Scottish defence sucked in by a series of forward drives around the fringes, England exploited the blindside and a quick pass from centre Ollie Smith found Matt Banahan, who outpaced the covering defence to dive under the posts, his sixth try of the tournament, and Lamb's conversion, putting England ahead for the first time.

Another exchange of penalties took the half time score to 16-9 in England's favour, but soon into the second period Scotland struck back with a try by scrum half Colin Gregor, created by a break from centre Rob Dewey, who managed to slip through a tackle from Crane.

Ross' conversion and his subsequent penalty put the Scots back in pole position at 16-19 but as the hour mark passed England found another gear.

Energised by the appearance of Steff Armitage and debutant Tom French, the Saxons began to show their class. After taking the lead when full back Nick Abendanon picked up a perfectly timed flat pass from Lamb to slice though the Scottish midfield, Lamb and scrum half Paul Hodgson turned the screws and there was no way back for the Auld Enemy.

Having made the hard yards all game, Crane made the most of a blindside break to take advantage of 50m of open space to make a clear run to the corner flag. Lamb's conversion attempt, like the last, drifted wide but by then the job was done.

After further attempts from Crane, who was held just short, and Lamb, who couldn't quite hold on to an intercept, wing Ugo Monye plucked Lamb's pinpoint cross field kick to touch down, putting the icing on the cake for England and securing the title for a second successive season.

England Saxons: Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)*; Ugo Monye (Harlequins), Ollie Smith (Leicester Tigers)*, Anthony Allen (Gloucester Rugby)*, Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby); Ryan Lamb (Gloucester Rugby), Paul Hodgson (London Irish)*; Alex Clarke (Bristol Rugby), George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)*, Jack Forster (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Jones (Sale Sharks)*, George Skivington (London Wasps), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Will Skinner (Harlequins, captain), Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)

Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell (Gloucester Rugby)* for Chuter 73 mins, 17 Tom French (London Wasps) for Clarke 53, 18 Stuart Hooper (Leeds Carnegie) for Jones 66, 19 Steffon Armitage (London Irish) for Robshaw 53, 20 Lee Dickson (Newcastle Falcons) for Hodgson 79, 21 Adrian Jarvis (Harlequins) for Lamb 79, 22 Ben Foden (Sale Sharks) for Banahan 75

Scorers: Tries Banahan, Abendanon, Crane, Monye Pens: Lamb 4 Cons: Lamb 2

Sin binned: None
***************************************

Scotland A: Steve Jones (Newcastle Falcons); Mark Robertson (Edinburgh)

Rob Dewey (Ulster), Calum MacRae (Edinburgh), Roland Reid (Edinburgh); Gordon Ross (Saracens), Colin Gregor (Glasgow Warriors); Ed Kalman (Glasgow Warriors), Fergus Thomson (Glasgow Warriors, captain), David Young (Leicester Tigers), Fergus Pringle (Edinburgh), Dan Turner (Glasgow Warriors), James Eddie (Glasgow Warriors), Alan MacDonald (Edinburgh), Stevie Swindall (Glasgow Warriors)

Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly (Edinburgh), 17 Tommy McGee (Leeds Carnegie), 18 Scott Newlands (Edinburgh) for Pringle 40 mins, 19 Andy Miller (Exeter Chiefs), 20 Mark McMillan (Wasps) for Jones 75, 21 Jim Thompson (Edinburgh) for Reid 67, 22 Andrew Turnbull (Edinburgh) for Robertson 48

Scorers: Tries Gregor Pens: Ross 3 Cons: Ross DGs: Ross

Sin binned: None

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