Early Irish pressure was rewarded with a penalty from Andy Dunne after just three minutes but his Saxon counterpart Ryan Lyamb cancelled that out with a low-driven strike from the Ireland ten metre line two minutes later.
The best Irish move of the opening quarter then came from the restart when a delightful cut out pass from Dunne found Stephen Keogh in the outside centre channel and he galloped clear before linking with his former Munster teammate Alan Quinlan whose surge ended in England's 22.
The response from the home side was immediate and a bout of pressure inside Ireland's 22 ended with a try from hooker David Paice. Lamb missed the relatively easy conversion and retired immediately afterwards to be replaced by clubmate Anthony Allen.
Ireland went back into the lead when Ryan Caldwell took a Saxons throw on the half way line, delivered a superb offload to Trevor Hogan and his pass put Tommy Bowe in at the corner, that said Bowe had quite a bit of work to do before he got the touchdown. Dunne's conversion from out wide split the uprights and Ireland led 10-8.
Ireland A: G Duffy; J Murphy, L Fitzgerald, S Horgan capt, T Bowe ; A Dunne, I Boss; C Healy, F Sheahan, B Young, T Hogan, R Caldwell; S Keogh, S Jennings , A Quinlan.
England Saxons: N Abendanon; T Varndell , O Smith, S Geraghty, D Armitage; R Lamb A Allen 18 min), L Dickson; N Wood, D Paice, J Hobson; T Palmer, N Kennedy, P Dowson, B Woods, J Crane capt.
Referee: P Allan (Scotland)