Friday, March 30, 2007

Churchill Cup gets underway

June 4, 2006

The Barclays Churchill Cup is under way.

The England Saxons had an inauspicious beginning for the new team name, going down gamely to Scotland "A" 13-7 in a steady drizzle in front of 4200 fans at York Stadium in Toronto yesterday.

The game's first half was forgettable, a dreary affair with lots of dropped ball and numerous mistakes. The game was tied 3-3 at the half. The 2nd half raised the intensity and England looked dominant with their rolling mauls, wiining a penalty-try with an unstoppable scrummage at Scotland's goal-line, but they could not maintain their advantage and gave up a weak openfield try only minutes later.

The game came down to an exciting climax with what seemed like ten minutes of overtime England camped out on the Scotland line, retaining ball patiently, and the Scottish forwards heroically saving the day with tackle-after-tackle. Ten phases of attack at the line were repelled, and the referee blew the final whistle with the ball held up over Scotland's line. It was a cracking finale, and the exuberant joy on the faces and body-language of the Scots after they held out their big bro' border-rivals was evident for all to see!

In the days' other action, Ireland "A" beat the USA Eagles 28-13 (in a game that I did not see).

It's worth noting that the England Saxons vs. Scotland "A" game was the first XV-man rugby match seen on English-language Canadian TV in a year. The games are being broadcast on The Score. Big thanks to them, if you have a chance, read the story at that link and drop their programmer a word of thanks.


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