England saxons 64 USA 10: Banahan gives Saxons sound start

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The Independent Online

England Saxons opened their Churchill Cup campaign with a convincing win over the United States here on Saturday. Bath's Matt Banahan scored a hat-trick as the Saxons overcame a slow start to run in eight tries. Ryan Lamb added 19 points with the boot.

The Saxons were not at their best in the first half but they opened up a 24-7 lead after Banahan's first two and a further try for George Skivington. Lamb opened the scoring with an early penalty before Banahan stretched over for the first try after 15 minutes. Lamb's conversion gave the Saxons breathing space at 10-0, but they were caught out as Gavin DeBartolo intercepted Ollie Smith and raced away to score.

The Saxons began to click in the final 10 minutes of the period as Banahan pounced on a chip over the defence by Lamb. Only a last-ditch tackle by Chris Wyles prevented Smith grabbing another before the break, but Skivington did score when put into space by Anthony Allen, who added to the Americans' woes within four minutes of the restart by finishing off a quick break.

Smith then put Banahan over for his hat-trick and Paul Hodgson found a gap to send Ben Foden for another touchdown. The Americans conceded a penalty try with 10 minutes remaining before Tom Biggs and Ugo Monye added further scores.

England Saxons: Tries Banahan 3, Skivington, Allen, Foden, Penalty, Biggs, Monye; Conversions Lamb 8; Penalty Lamb. USA: Try DeBartolo; Conversion Hercus. Penalty Hercus.

England Saxons: B Foden (N Abendanon, 76); T Biggs, O Smith, A Allen, M Banahan; R Lamb, P Hodgson; N Lloyd (J Forster, 7), G Chuter (A Titterrell, 58), D Wilson, R Blaze, G Skivington, C Jones, W Skinner (capt), J Crane (T Guest, 69).

USA: C Wyles; G DeBartolo, M Palefau, P Emerick, A Tuipulotu (V Esikia, 60); M Hercus (capt), M Petri; M MacDonald, M Crick (M Laulaupea'alu, 57), M Moeakiola (C Slaby, 31-63), B Wiedemer, J van der Giessen, L Stanfill, T Clever (J Lett, 20), H Bloomfield (B Doyle, 12-24 & 69).

Referee: A McPherson (Scotland).

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