England rout fails to dampen Woodward fury

USA A 21 England 83
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The Independent Online

Clive Woodward has not been afraid to court controversy on the three-Test tour of North America and the England manager spoke out again here.

After criticising the Lions management over their refusal to issue a reserve list of players for their tour to Australia, Woodward turned his attention to the standard of officiating at England's midweek matches.

Woodward was annoyed at the handling of the game against British Columbia last week and his anger boiled over during this victory ­ in which Tom Voyce grabbed a hat-trick of tries and Alex King, David Rees and Paul Sackey each collected a brace ­ over the United States A team at UCLA early yesterday.

With 15 minutes remaining, the England coach threatened to haul his team off the pitch. Although the US rugby union had provided a top referee in the experienced New Zealander Steve Walsh, the two touch-judges were both Americans unused to international rugby.

"I would never have taken the team off, but I wanted to make the touch-judge aware of his job and start watching what was going on," Woodward said. "It seemed like he was enjoying the rugby but, at this level, it is not good enough. Professional rugby is dangerous. I have a responsibility to the players because they can end up in a wheelchair."

Woodward's constant complaint has been that the three officials who have been flown out by the International Rugby Board to take charge of the two Tests with Canada and Saturday's match with the United States have remained idle during the week.

With Paul Sampson out with a broken leg, Tim Stimpson struggling with a hamstring strain and Ben Kay's knee ruling him out of contention, Woodward has been forced to make two changes to the side who will seek a national record 11th successive Test win in San Francisco on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Fraser Waters, who scored a try in yesterday's game, comes in for his full England debut to replace Sampson, while the centre Leon Lloyd will switch to the wing. The Bath lock Steve Borthwick steps up from the bench.

However, the most notable presence on the bench is that of Olly Barkley. The 19-year-old had never previously played a senior game of rugby before this tour.

USA A: Tries Naqica, Naivalu; Conversions Wilfley; Penalties Wilfley 3.

ENGLAND: Tries Voyce 3, Sackey 2, Waters, Rees 2, King 2, Walshe, Flatman, A Sanderson; Conversions Barkley 9.

USA A: J Naqica; J Keyter (Roma), K Thomson (SF Golden Gate), T Gill (Chicago Griffins), J Naivalu (San Jose); L Wilfley (Wests, Brisbane), K Kjar (BYU); A McGarry (Chicago Lions), D Anderson (Chicago Griffins), B Hinz (Scioto Valley), P Sheridan (Springfield), E Reed (Chicago Lions), R ReBell (San Diego), A Magleby (Silverdale, NZ), C Hodgson (San Diego). Replacements: R Grant (Hayward Old Blues) for Naivula, 56; K Whitcher (Denver) for Sheridan, 62; R Flynn (SF Golden Gate) for Anderson, 67.

ENGLAND: T Voyce (Bath); P Sackey (London Irish), F Waters (Wasps), O Barkeley (Bath), D Rees (Bristol); A King (Wasps), N Walsh (Saracens); D Flatman (Saracens), M Regan (Bath), R Nebbett (Leicester), R Fiddler (Gloucester), T Palmer (Leeds), P Sanderson (Harlequins), A Hazell (Gloucester), A Sanderson (Sale). Replacements: T Woodman (Gloucester) for Flatman, 51; C Fortey (Gloucester) for Regan, 51; S Thompson (Northampton Saints for Anderson, 56).

Referee: S Walsh (New Zealand).

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