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Crane stars in huge Saxons win

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No.8 Jordan Crane scored two tries as England Saxons beat the United States 51-3 in the opening game of the Churchill Cup at Edgeley Park, Stockport, on Friday evening.

The Tigers back rower scored his touchdowns in the first half as the Saxons out-muscled and out-thought their visitors.

It was not all good news for England, however, as World Cup hopeful Shane Geraghty left the field in the first half after a reoccurrence of a hamstring injury.

Coach Jim Mallinder said: "Considering we've only been together a week, that was a very pleasing performance. We had a lot of new players too, so we're delighted. But we've still got plenty to work on. 

"We were playing into the wind in the first half so the players made the decision to go for it rather than take the easy points, and we supported them 100 per cent."

After going 3-0 down after 10 minutes, England replied with a try from wing Topsy Ojo, conmverted by man-of-the-match Ryan Lamb.

Crane's opening score came from a strong scrum and he crashed through before adding another on the stroke of half-time in almost identical fashion. With Delon Armitage's converted try sandwiched in between, England went into the break with a commanding 24-3 lead.

Harlequins lock Jim Evans scored early in the second half before Crane had a hand in the try of the match just after the hour mark. Lamb, on his 21st birthday, broke through the defence, Crane picked up from a ruck and carried for another 10 yards before kicking the ball through for Armitage to dive over.

Further tries followed for prop, Jack Forster, flanker Phil Dowson and scrum-half Lee Dickson.

England Saxons' next game is against Scotland A at Twickenham on Monday, May 28 (3pm). When the second round of pool games is completed, the teams will be ranked with the top two competing in the Cup Final, the third and fourth teams playing in the Plate Final and the bottom two contesting the Bowl Final. All three finals will take place at Twickenham on Saturday, June 2. Tickets for all these games are available from Ticketmaster on 0870 902 0000 or from http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/.

England Saxons: 15 Delon Armitage (London Irish), 14 Dan Scarbrough (Saracens), 13 Kevin Sorrell (Saracens), 12 Shane Geraghty (London Irish) (Nils Mordt, London Irish 32min), 11 Topsy Ojo (London Irish), 10 Ryan Lamb (Gloucester Rugby), 9 Richard Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks) (Lee Dickson, Newcastle Falcons 64min); 1 Neal Hatley (London Irish, captain) (Tom Mercey, (Saracens 38min), 2 David Paice (London Irish) (Matt Thompson, Newcastle Falcons 64min), 3 John Brooks (Northampton Saints) (Jack Forster, Gloucester Rugby 60min), 4 Richard Blaze (Worcester Warriors - Leicester Tigers as of 2007/08) (Nick Kennedy, London Irish 73min), 5 Jim Evans (NEC Harlequins), 6 Phil Dowson (Newcastle Falcons), 7 Will Skinner (NEC Harlequins) (Ben Woods, Newcastle Falcons 60min), 8 Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers)

USA: 15 Francois Viljoen (Belmont Shore, captain), 14 Chris Wyles (Northampton), 13 Albert Tuipulotu (San Mateo), 12 Vaha Esikia (San Mateo), 11 Mike Palefau (Narbonne) (David Williams, Denver Barbarians 71min), 10 Valenese Malifa (Belmont Shore), 9 Kimball Kjar (Park City); 1 Mike French (OMBAC), 2 Mark Crick (PAC) (Blake Burdette, NYAC 40min), 3 John Vitale (Chicago Lions) (Chris Osentowski, Belmont Shore 40min), 4 Hayden Mexted (St Louis), 5 Mike Mangan (Denver Barbarians), 6 Louis Stanfill (UC Berkeley), 7 Todd Clever (OMBAC) (Ben Wiedemer, Belmont Shore 70min), 8 Pat Quinn (Denver Barbarians) (Tasi Mounga, SF Golden Gate, 46min). Unused: Scott Peterson (Chicago Lions), 21 Andrew "Tui" Osborne (OMBAC)