Italy 'A' 5-31 England Saxons, February 7
Saxons too good for Italy 'A'
February 7, 2010
England Saxons' Dave Attwood takes on the Italy 'A' defence © Getty Images
England Saxons battled back from a first-half deficit to record their second victory in as many weeks with a 31-5 win over Italy 'A' in Treviso.
Stuart Lancaster's men built on last week's 17-13 victory against Ireland 'A' thanks to tries from Worcester's Miles Benjamin, Saracens' Alex Goode and Harlequins' David Strettle plus a penalty try. Goode added three conversion with fly-half Shane Geraghty weighing in with a penalty and a conversion of his own. The Italians' only points came courtesy of a first half try from scrum-half Pablo Canavosio that gave the hosts an unlikely lead at the break.
An early second half penalty from Geraghty got the Saxons on the scoreboard and seemed to give them a much needed boost but they had to wait until just short of the hour mark for their opening try when Strettle raced up the wing before offloading inside to Northampton's Phil Dowson who sent Benjamin over for the score. Geraghty added the conversion to ease the pressure.
England's hard working forwards were then rewarded by referee Andrew Macpherson with a penalty try and replacement Goode slotted the conversion to extend the lead to 17-5. Cracks started to appear in Italy's defence in the last quarter and the Saxons dominated Goode scoring and converting his own try four minutes from time and then converting Strettle's effort who showed his blistering pace charging through midfield to finish on a high.
Lancaster commented, "It was a tough first half. Italy did very well they scored a good try and we needed to break them down. We changed in the second half to a more high tempo game. Simon (Hardy) and Andy (Farrell) have been first class in what they've delivered and they are really quality additions to the coaching team.
"We've worked hard with this group of players I'm pleased with they way they came back in the second half. It shows the quality we have and strength in depth of players that didn't have an opportunity last week but came through this week. And the result is through their hard work."
Italy A: Paolo Buso (Rugby Roma); Michele Sepe (MPS Viadana), Andrea Pratichetti (Femi-CZ Rovigo), Matteo Pratichetti (MPS Viadana), Samuele Pace (MPS Viadana); Luciano Orquera (Brive), Pablo Canavosio (MPS Viadana); Franco Sbaraglini (Benetton Treviso), Tommaso D'Apice (Rugby Roma), Ignacio Rouyet (Benetton Treviso), Santiago Dellape' (Racing Metro Paris), Tommaso Reato (Femi-CZ Rovigo), Valerio Bernabo' (Rugby Roma, captain), Simone Favaro (Parma), Manoa Vosawai (Parma)
Replacements: Davide Giazzon (Parma) rep D'Apice (52), Alberto De Marchi (Parma) rep Dellape' (60), Mantvydas Tveraga (Parma), Silvio Orlando (Benetton Treviso) rep Favaro (40), Fabio Semenzato (Benetton Treviso) rep 9 (52), Andrea Bacchetti, Gilberto Pavan (Parma) rep Pratichetti (74)
England Saxons: Danny Cipriani (London Wasps); David Strettle (Harlequins), Jon Clarke (Northampton Saints), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Miles Benjamin (Worcester Warriors); Shane Geraghty (Northampton Saints), Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons); David Flatman (Bath), Rob Webber (London Wasps), Paul Doran-Jones (Gloucester), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), George Skivington (London Wasps, captain), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), 7 Hendre Fourie (Leeds Carnegie), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
Replacements: Rob Vickers (Newcastle Falcons) rep Webber (76), Tom Mercey (Saracens) bld Flatman (18-28) rep Flatman (60), Dave Attwood (Gloucester Rugby) rep Wood (60), Tom Wood (Worcester Warriors) rep Fourie (58), Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks) rep Young (40), Dominic Waldouck (London Wasps), Alex Goode (Saracens) rep Geraghty (50)
Referee: Andrew Macpherson (Scotland)