Two previous Lions tourists, and a number of other potential Lions, helped England Saxons secure their second successive victory at this year’s Churchill Cup on Sunday night.
Andy Titterrell and Ollie Smith both started the comfortable 32-9 win over the USA in Denver as the Saxons backed up an opening-round success over Russia to book their place in the Churchill Cup Final next Saturday.
Hooker Titterrell and centre Smith – who played out of position on the wing for the Saxons on Sunday – have fallen out of favour with England since touring New Zealand with the Lions five years ago but both players have now been given a chance to resurrect international careers that had seemed so promising back in 2005.
And while Leeds No2 Titterrell and Harlequins-bound Smith have already featured for Britain and Ireland’s elite, plenty of English youngsters will be hoping for a similar opportunity when the Lions head to Australia in 2013.
Wasps wing Tom Varndell again showed his finishing abilities with his second brace of tries in as many games, while Saracens youngster Alex Goode impressed at fly-half having starred at full back for most of the domestic season.
Goode’s Sarries team-mate Andy Saull could be a serious Lions contender if he continues his outstanding progress over the next three years, while blindside Kearnan Myall and prop Alex Corbiserio are ones to watch.
Bath veteran Duncan Bell and Leicester centre Anthony Allen added the Saxons’ other tries, while the United States could only muster three penalties from Volney Rouse in reply.
Goode landed two penalties and two conversions, with replacement Stephen Myler also adding a conversion.
15 Colin Hawley (California), 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz Olympique),13 Alipate Tuilevuka (Provo Steelers),12 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins), 11 Paul Emerick (Parma RFC), 10 Volney Rouse (Te Kawau), 9 Tim Usasz (Nottingham RFC), 1 Tony Purpura (Boston Rugby Club), 2 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate), 3 Shawn Pittman (Bayside RFC), 4 John Van de Giessen (Captain, Sporting Club Albi) 5 Scott Lavalla (Dublin University), 6 Patrick Danahy (Life Univeristy), 7 Dan LaPrevotte (San Francisco Golden Gate), 8 J.J. Gagiano (University of Cape Town)
Replacements: 16 Phillip Thiel (Life University), 17 Brian Howard (Old Puget Sound Beach), 18 Louis Stanfill (Canberra Royals), 19 Leonard Peters (Gentlemen of Aspen), 20 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club), 21 Nese Malifa (Belmont Shore), 22 Blaine Scully (California)
Scorers: Pens: Rouse (3)
15 Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby), 14 Ollie Smith (Montpellier), 13 Anthony Allen (Leicester Tigers), 12 Brad Barritt (Saracens), 11 Tom Varndell (London Wasps), 10 Alex Goode (Saracens), 9 Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), 1 Nick Wood (Gloucester Rugby), 2 Andy Titterrell (Leeds Carnegie), 3 Alex Corbiserio (London Irish), 4 James Hudson (Newcastle Falcons), 5 George Skivington (Captain, London Wasps), 6 Kearnan Myall (Leeds Carnegie), 7 Andy Saull (Saracens), 8 Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby)
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay (London Wasps), 17 Duncan Bell (Bath Rugby), 18 Graham Kitchener (Worcester Warriors), 19 Tom Wood (Worcester Warriors), 20 Micky Young (Newcastle Falcons) 21 Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), 22 Jon Clarke (Northampton Saints)
Scorers: Tries: Varndell (2), Allen, Bell; Cons: Goode (2), Myler; Pens: Goode (2)
NB Bold denotes Lion