England's second-string, the Saxons, fielded the kind of team you might pick from the Aviva Premiership if entertainment was the only concern and scored seven tries as they beat Italy A 45-17 at Sixways in Worcester.
The Saxons have lost Andy Farrell's coaching services since his promotion at Saracens but they have gained a Samoan, Manu Tuilagi. The 19-year-old Leicester centre had been omitted from England Under-18 away matches because he did not have the correct visa but he is fully qualified for his adopted country now, in the residency and rugby senses. He bounced off two brothers – the centres Matteo and Andrea Pratichetti – in one bullocking run, and scored a try after 55 minutes. The distribution of another Tiger, the inside-centre Billy Twelvetrees, caught the eye as Ugo Monye, James Gaskell and Mike Brown scored first-half tries that were all converted by Steve Myler for a 21-3 lead.
James Simpson-Daniel profited from a sweet pass by the lock Graham Kitchener for England's fourth try, in the 47th minute, and that was followed by tries from Tuilagi, Paul Hodgson and Simpson-Daniel again. The full-back Paolo Buso and wing Giulio Toniolatti scored the Italians' tries in the final quarter and the fly-half Riccardo Bocchino kicked seven points.
In the LV Cup – a competition denuded of internationals, fringe internationals and players playing in fringe international matches because everyone else is injured – Bath beat Newcastle 11-6. Given the missing players, the weather and the fact that this season watching the Falcons lose low-scoring matches has been as dull as it has been predictable, a capacity crowd provided an enormous boon for Bath's marketing department.
The former Bath (and England and Lions and Celebrity X-Factor) prop Matt Stevens played in Saracens' 34-7 win away to a Scarlets team so weakened that they might have played as the Light Pinks. Stevens has completed a two-year drugs ban and will attract interest from England should he return to anything like his old form.
At Sandy Park, Exeter thumped a decidedly second-string Leicester team 35-10. The England centre Dan Hipkiss, who looks likely to move to Bath after falling behind the afore mentioned Tuilagi in the pecking order at Welford Road, scored one of the Tigers' two tries.
In a remarkably complicated pool system, Exeter are one of the teams better placed to go through to the semi-finals. However, a Harlequins win against Wasps in Abu Dhabi today will keep the Chiefs second in Pool Four.Reuse content