England Saxons too slick for Ireland Wolfhounds

England Saxons gave English Rugby a little spring in it’s step with a morale boosting 23-17 victory over the Ireland Wolfhounds at Sandy Park in Exeter.

The Saxons were clearly the better team and got out to a 10-0 start thanks to a penalty and converted try by Ben Spencer.

England Saxons led the match throughout and forced Ireland to chase the match.

Ireland scored just before the break but still trailed 10-5 at half time.

The final score makes the match look a lot closer than it was as Simon Zebo scored a last minute try to make the match look a lot closer than it was.

Teenager Ben Spencer and No.8 Thomas Waldrom both scored on debut as England
Saxons opened the 2012 international campaign with a 23-17 win over the O2 Ireland
Wolfhounds at Exeter.

Saracens scrum half Spencer – the youngest man in the team – darted
over from close range after just 10 minutes to settle his early nerves and Waldrom
retrieved Freddie Burns’s deflected chip through the Wolfhounds’
defence mid-way through the second half.

Burns added two conversions and his three penalties pulled the Saxons clear.
The Wolfhounds responded with scores from David Kearney and Tomas O’Leary.
Simon Zebo then struck in the closing seconds.

“It’s been pretty much a dream,” said Spencer.” I got
the call on Monday, came in on Tuesday, didn’t expect the call to start
and then to score was an absolute dream. I was pretty nervous before the game,
it took it out of my legs a bit, and to get a try early on just settled me down.”

The Saxons dominated at the set piece to help him ease his way into the game
against senior Ireland internationals Isaac Boss and O’Leary.

“It’s always a pleasure to play behind a pack that’s going
forwards,” he said. “Whenever they got a maul going we stopped that
quickly, on our set piece we were clinical and the ball was on a plate for me
so it was brilliant to be behind a pack that was so dominant.”

Waldrom was an injury replacement at the Rugby World Cup without getting on
the field, and the Leicester Tigers forward made a big contribution even before
his 53rd minute try.

“It was good to get the first game under my belt,” said Waldrom.
“It was a big week leading up to it and it was good to get out and do
my thing. You’re put where you’re put and you can only do your best
from where you are. It’s an important stepping stone and it was a big

“All 22 guys out there want to be pushing for the top team but you’ve
got to perform, whether you’re at the Tigers or here you’ve just
to go out and enjoy it. That’s what I did today.”

Saxons coach Jon Callard believes there is more to come from the side, too,
as they add more precision to a big-hearted performance in front of the 8,000
Sandy Park crowd.

“Technically you can go away and work on it but the thing you were going
to get measured on today was heart and desire and hunge,” said Callard.
“We did that today and we were gritty and determined.

“We weren’t clinical and it wasn’t flash but the boys dug
in, especially the front five. They were exceptional in the work they produced
and they did well to control that and give us some ball. It’s easier to
go forward when you’re winning.”

Man of the match was awarded to George Robson.

The Saxons regroup next week before heading to Galashiels to face Scotland
A on Friday, February 3 (7pm).

Final Score England Saxons 23 (10) Ireland Wolfhounds 17 (5)


England Saxons
Tries: Spencer, Waldrom
Conversion: Burns (2)
Penalty: Burns (3)

Ireland Wolfhounds
Tries: Kearney, O’Leary, Zebo
Coversion: Madigan

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