However, the England pack started to dominate proceedings in the final few minutes and won two vital penalties at the scrum which Olly Barkley duly converted to secure the win.
After a bright opening, the second half was a disappointing affair, strewn with handling errors and penalties conceded by both sides.
England just about deserved to edge it given their superiority up front and will take heart from a much improved defensive display but few of the England side would have forced their way into the selection reckoning for Saturday.
The Gloucester duo of Dave Attwood and Paul Doran-Jones showed up well. Doran-Jones scrummaged well particularly in the latter stages whilst Attwood secured his usual share of lineout ball and carried strongly in the loose.