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Ireland A come up short in Welford Road

1st February 2008 By Munster Rugby

Ireland A come up short in Welford Road

Two second half tries from Tom Varndell helped the England Saxons to a 31-13 victory over Ireland A in front of a near 11,000 crowd at a bitterly cold Welford Road this (Fri)evening.

Two second half tries from Tom Varndell helped the England Saxons to a 31-13 victory over Ireland A in front of a near 11,000 crowd at a bitterly cold Welford Road this (Fri)evening.

It was a victory the home side fully deserved inspired as they were by their outstanding number 8 Jordan Crane while the pick of a game Ireland side was undoubtedly winger Tommy Bowe.
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 went in at the break 10-8 up.

England edged in front with a penalty from Delion Armitage after two minutes of the restart but Dunne cancelled that out with a penalty that owed much to the brilliance of Bowe. With Ireland under all sorts of pressure, Isaac Boss passed to the Bowe on his own 22 and the soon to be ex-Ulster player simply left the English defence for dead, his run eventually halted in the Saxons 22, his reward, a penalty and the lead again for his side.
Tom Varndell the Leicester winger restored the Saxons’ advantage when he got on the end of Shane Geraghty’s perfectly placed cross field kick and when Hogan was penalised for going high on Phil Dowson moments later, Armitage extended their lead to six (19-13).

And it was Varndell who made it safe with eight minutes to go when he dotted down in the right hand corner after replacement Dylan Hartley had made the hard yards and then released the winger.

Right at the end, after they had been repelled more than once, the Saxons added another score with Armitage getting over in the corner and adding the conversion for good measure.


Ireland A: G Duffy; J Murphy (D Riordan 74 min), L Fitzgerald, S Horgan capt, T Bowe; A Dunne (N O’Connor 63 min), I Boss (C Keane 74 min); C Healy, F Sheahan (A Flavin 79 min), B Young (D Fitzpatrick 63 min), T Hogan (D Ryan 64 min), R Caldwell; S Keogh D Pollock 79 min), S Jennings, A Quinlan.
England Saxons: N Abendanon; T Varndell (M Brown), O Smith, S Geraghty, D Armitage; R Lamb (A Allen 18 min), L Dickson ( J Grindal); N Wood, D Paice (D Hartley), J Hobson (D Wilson); T Palmer (G Skivington), N Kennedy, P Dowson, B Woods, J Crane capt.
Referee: P Allan (Scotland)

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