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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 February 2008, 08:12 GMT
Varndell shines in Saxons victory
Tom Varndell
Varndell has three full caps for the England senior team

England Saxons (8) 31
Tries: Paice, Varndell 2, Armitage
Cons: Armitage
Pens: Lamb, Armitage 2

Ireland A (10) 13
Tries: Bowe
Cons: Dunne
Pen: Dunne 2

Leicester's Tom Varndell scored two tries as England Saxons defeated Ireland A 31-13 to remind Brian Ashton of his superb finishing skills.

The winger, 22, collected a crossfield kick from Shane Geraghty for his first and then took a Dylan Hartley offload to complete a second-half brace.

Head coach Steve Bates believes his team's impressive display has put pressure on the senior squad.

"Now we're breathing down their necks. It just ups the ante," he said.

David Paice and Delon Armitage also scored tries for England in a match that Ireland A led 10-8 at the break.

Considering we're such a young team, I think our average age is 23, I think we showed that hopefully the future is looking good for English rugby

Tom Varndell

Tommy Bowe scored the only Irish try after collecting an Isaac Boss offload, while Andrew Dunne claimed eight points with the boot.

The Saxons, with an average age of 23, had only five capped players in their starting XV.

Bates added: "Right the way through the team, there were people who put their hand up and said 'this is the point in us being here'.

"Everybody played their part. Shane ran the game from fly-half; Anthony Allen came on and did very well, and I thought the front row impressed - but this was a big team effort.

"We'll go back to Brian (Ashton) with our thoughts and recommendations on the players, particularly with Graham Rowntree being part of the Saxons team and Brian's team.

"We'll have a look at the video - and I'm sure Brian will - because what we are here to do is put pressure on the first team."

Varndell was happy with his performance but delighted with the overall display of the Saxons team.

"Considering we're such a young team, I think our average age is 23, I think we showed that hopefully the future is looking good for English rugby," he said.

England Saxons: Abendanon, Varndell, Smith, Geraghty, Armitage, Lamb, Dickson, Wood, Paice, Hobson, Palmer, Kennedy, Dowson, Woods, Crane.
Not Used: Hartley, Wilson, Skivington, Skinner, Grindal, Allen, Brown.

Ireland A: Duffy, J. Murphy, Fitzgerald, Horgan, Bowe, Dunne, Boss, Healy, Sheahan, T. Hogan, Caldwell, Young, Keogh, Jennings, Quinlan.
Not Used: Flavin, Fitzpatrick, Ryan, Pollock, Keane, N. O'Connor, Riordan.

Horgan and Quinlan in A squad
25 Jan 08 |  Irish
Bates named England Saxons coach
09 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
England Saxons 18-3 Scotland A
28 May 07 |  Rugby Union
England Saxons 51-3 USA
18 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Balshaw selected in Saxons squad
02 May 07 |  Rugby Union


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