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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 June 2007, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
England Saxons 17-13 NZ Maori
England Saxons came from behind to lift the Churchill Cup
England Saxons came from behind to lift the Churchill Cup
England Saxons (7) 17
Tries: Sackey, Voyce, Croft
Cons: Barkley

NZ Maori (5) 13
Tries: Tahana, Kawau
Pens: Ellison

England's second-string Saxons side edged New Zealand Maori 17-13 to win the Churchill Cup at Twickenham.

The Saxons trailed with less than five minutes to go before replacement lock Tom Croft outpaced the cover on the right wing to score the winner.

The hosts led 7-5 at the break after a converted try from Paul Sackey against Anthony Tahana's score for the Maori.

Tom Voyce and Kiwi Jason Kawau swapped second-half tries but a penalty gave the Maori the edge before Croft struck.

"We've said it all along, the reason for the Saxons is as a breeding ground for the first team," said Saxons coach Mallinder.

"There are players who have certainly shown me that they are capable of playing at international level.

We started to panic kick and gave their full-back [Cipriani] a chance to get himself in the game, and he came good

Maori coach Steve Howarth

"The side has grown over the last three weeks. Defensively we've been great throughout and today we were outstanding."

Maori assistant coach Shane Howarth said: "We were very, very flat and every time we got momentum seemed to turn the ball over. They were more cohesive as a team.

"We started to panic kick and gave their full-back (Danny Cipriani) a chance to get himself in the game, and he came good."

The two-week competition also featured the USA, Canada, Scotland A and Ireland A.

An absorbing opening set the tone for a tight, physical match punctuated by moments of individual brilliance from the likes of Wasps' 19-year-old full-back Danny Cipriani and Maori captain Rua Tipoki.

England went ahead on 17 minutes when fly-half Olly Barkley retrieved a long line-out throw deep in Maori territory and sparked a move which put Sackey into the right corner.

Despite going behind, the Maori bristled with intent but were let down by Tamati Ellison, who missed two penalty attempts in quick succession.

Ellison's inaccuracy nearly cost his side dear when England went close after a good running from Voyce and Cipriani.

But the New Zealanders finally crossed when centre Tipoki set off on a jinking break before putting in Tahana in the left corner.

Ellison missed the conversion but made amends with his first successful penalty shot shortly after the break.

But almost instantly, the Saxons hit back after full-back Cipriani received Nils Mordt's long pass and drew his man to send Voyce into the left corner.

Barkley missed the conversion and the game entered a phase of stalemate before the Maori rumbled over with centre Kawau to retake the lead on 57 minutes.

The Maori sensed an opportunity and went close again after another Tipoki break.

But Saxons had their own stars and Cipriani almost carved his way through late on before Wasps team-mate Sackey launched a counter which was finished off in sensational, match-winning style by the pace of Croft on the right wing.


England Saxons: Cipriani; Sackey, Sorrell, Mordt, Voyce; Barkley, Wigglesworth; Hatley (capt), Paice, Brooks, Blaze, Evans, Haskell, Skinner, Dowson.
Replacements: Thompson, Forster, Mercey, Croft, Crane, Dickson, Erinle.

NZ Maori: Paku; H Gear, Sweeny, Tipoki (capt), Tahana; Ellison, Smylie; West, De Malamanche, May, Ormsy, Triggs, MacDonald, Latimer, Smith.
Replacements: Mahoney, Hoani, Ross, Waldrom, Rodley, Bruce, Te Whare


SEE ALSO
England Saxons 18-3 Scotland A
28 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Scotland A 13-9 USA
23 May 07 |  Scottish
Hadden rejects US Cup complaints
22 May 07 |  Scottish
England Saxons 51-3 USA
18 May 07 |  Rugby Union
New caps for NZ Maori Cup squad
15 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Hadden names strong Scotland team
15 May 07 |  Scottish
Scots name strong Churchill squad
20 Apr 07 |  Scottish
England to host the Churchill Cup
05 Dec 06 |  Rugby Union


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