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England 26-13 Samoa

England (6) 26
Tries: Banahan, Croft Cons: Flood 2 Pens: Flood 4
Samoa (3) 13
Tries: P.Williams, Otto Pens: P.Williams

Tom Croft of England

Highlights - England 26 -13 Samoa

By Mike Henson

England followed their victory over Australia with a solid 26-13 win over a stubborn Samoa side at Twickenham.

Behind to two Toby Flood penalties at the break, the visitors moved 8-6 ahead as Paul Williams coasted in out wide.

The hosts mustered a swift response as centre Matt Banahan crossed from Chris Ashton's pass and Flood converted.

Flood's boot provided another two penalties before Tom Croft strolled in from Banahan's intercept, while Samoa's Fautua Otto scored a late consolation.

England made four changes from the team that overturned Australia the previous weekend and the introduction of new personnel initially seemed to check the momentum from that victory.

606: DEBATE
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The early enterprise came from the away team as slick off-loading made inroads down the right wing and earned a penalty which Paul Williams slotted to a background of whistles.

The full-back had a chance to double the lead from an almost identical position after he coasted into space behind the England backline.

He could not replicate his earlier successful attempt though and England almost responded with an immediate try as the backline showed a glimmer of its cutting edge.

Ashton, who scored both England's tries against the Wallabies, cleaved through midfield from an inside pass from Flood, before slinging a long pass out to his fellow wing Mark Cueto.

Johnson sees room for England improvement

Ben Foden surged on, but was forced into touch as he stretched for the line and it was a straightforward penalty from Flood that finally saw England register on the scoreboard.

Despite restoring parity, England struggled to apply consistent pressure as Samoan numbers and trademark physicality at the breakdown deprived them of a stable platform.

When the ball was spun wide, the onrushing Samoan defence regularly unsettled the England backs.

When Ashton did cross the line he was hauled back by the referee's whistle as fellow league convert Shontayne Hape's telling off-load strayed forward.

But Hape made partial amends as a powerful run forced another infringement and Flood duly edged England ahead.

BEN DIRS' BLOG

With their running ambitions frustrated, England pressed for a score through the pack.

A prolonged spell in the vicinity of the Samoan line was eventually broken as the biggest of a succession of Samoan hits, from Seilala Mapusua on Mark Cueto, turned over possession.

Samoa had no such problems as they crossed for their first try at Twickenham in the first minute of the second half.

England's defence never managed to reorganise after seeing the ball pinched from Hape and, after a swift recycle, Williams glided over in the left corner.

Uncertainty seemed to fill Twickenham and Mapusua's audacious, but off-target, drop-goal attempt briefly threatened to extend the lead and further spoil the mood.

The tension was eased as Banahan dived in under the posts after Bath colleague Hape had fixed the short-side defence with a dummy scissors and Ashton drew the final defender.

Matt banahan
Matt Banahan crosses for England's first try

The Samoan defence was regularly stretched and it took a superb last-ditch tackle from George Pisi to force Cueto into touch as he shipped inside.

The Islanders were eventually broken however as Banahan stretched to snaffle a wayward pass and Danny Care scampered upfield to set up fellow substitute Croft.

Croft seemed to have denied the Samoans a second try at the other end as he dislodged the ball from George Stowers' grasp inches above the line, but, in the last play of normal time, Otto held on to a loose ball out wide to convert an overlap into a well-deserved score.


England: Foden, Ashton (Armitage 75), Banahan, Hape (Hodgson 75), Cueto, Flood, Youngs (Care 68), Sheridan, Hartley (Thompson 56), Wilson (Cole 56), Lawes (Attwood 68), Palmer, Haskell (Croft 68), Fourie, Easter.

Samoa: P. Williams, Lemi (Otto 60), Pisi (G. Williams 68), Mapusua, A.Tuilagi, Lavea, Fotualii, Taulafo, Schwalger (Paulo 48), A. Perenise (Johnston 68), Levi (Poluleuligaga 67), Thompson (Tekori 41), Treviranus, Salavea, Stowers (Aiono 66).

Att: 70,553

Ref: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland).



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see also
Johnson pleased by England grit
20 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Autumn internationals as they happened
20 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Autumn international photos
20 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Giant Banahan handed big chance
19 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Banahan braced for centre switch
17 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
England change four against Samoa
17 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Jeremy Guscott Q&A
16 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Ashton's thrilling try against Aussies
15 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
England 35-18 Australia
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 20-10 Samoa
13 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union on the BBC
05 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union


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