Gloucester's James Simpson-Daniel grabbed one try in England's 29-5 victory over Canada to book a place in the final of the Churchill Cup against Argentina next weekend.
The start was scrappy by both sides, despite England being clearly dominant in the scrum. Eight minutes in and England's fly half Andy Goode was penalised for not rolling away, giving Canada their first chance of a penalty but it was not to be.
Despite a solid, if unspectacular, initial performance by England, their forwards began to get hold of the game. Dominating possession in their own half and taking advantage of a Canadian offside, Goode had the chance of getting England's first few points on the scoreboard. Surprisingly, the ball went wide.
But 20 minutes in, after a great pass from England centre James Simpson-Daniel, Paul Sackey burst down the wing in an impressive show of speed, to touch down for the first try of the match.
Five minutes later Goode kicked a superb long cross pass to find his Leicester Tigers club mate Sam Vesty at full back, who effortlessly touched down for England's second try. With Goode duly converting, England were 12-0 ahead, thirty minutes into the first half.
Although Canada looked likely to get a try just before half time, in what was developing into a somewhat feisty encounter, England got out of the danger zone and looked likely to score again themselves until Ugo Monye went down from a heavy tackle by Canadian replacement hooker, Peter Densmore, leading to a chance for a Goode penalty from the half way line. Again without success, clearly not quite acclimatising to the KooGa balls, making it still 12-0 to England at half time.
England brought the powerful Ayoola Erinle on at centre in the second half, with the injured Monye not returning, and Simpson-Daniel moving to wing. Canada's fly half Ryan Smith knocked-on a few minutes later but was almost touching down for a try before he realised his wasted effort.
Canada started making a lot of substitutions, after taking a few hard knocks. England brought on the fresh legs of Tom Voyce at full back, replacing Sam Vesty and within minutes Voyce evaded an astonishing seven Canadian players to touch down between the posts. With Goode converting, England had stretched their lead to 19-0.
Ten minutes in and Canada deserved a try but for some sturdy England defence on their opposition try line. Tempers frayed, and American referee Al Klemp sin binned locks Louis Deacon of England and his opposite number Luke Tait. More frustration persisted on both sides, resulting in Andy Goode being sinbinned, making England down to 13 men.
This didn't stop the depleted England pack scoring their fourth try however, when James Simpson Daniel, now at wing, found space in the corner. With James Forrester on to replace number eight Phil Dowson, he wasted little time in impressing, just missing out on a try, again in the corner.
But Canada piled on the pressure and with England still a man down, their number eight Aaron Carpenter piled over to put his side's first points on the board, making it 24-5 to England with just five minutes to go before the final whistle.
England flanker Chris Jones took an injury to his ankle, coming off in the dying minutes but to seal the England victory, captain Pat Sanderson added his five points in the corner to make the final score England 29- Canada 5.
England coach Joe Lydon later commented he thought it was a scrappy England win but a win nevertheless.
"We didn't help ourselves at times and gave away possession, we were a bit disjointed. But nevertheless I thought our discipline was fantastic despite the two sin bins. We knew Canada would play a physical game and I thought James Simpson-Daniel and Tom Voyce played really well. In broken field, James is one of our best runners. Full credit to the forwards too, players such as Perry Freshwater were outstanding. Canada came back with a lot of pride in their performance and England will carry on learning from today's effort."
England fly half Andy Goode paid tribute to some of his fellow players' performance.
"We struggled a bit to get our game going but there was a lot of pace out there. Tom Voyce did really well and set us up well for next week."
For his part, Voyce knew he had a job to do coming off the bench.
"Joe wanted Ayoola Erinle and myself to come off the bench and make an impact today with speed and agility. I felt as fresh today as at the start of the season and it was a great chance for me to try to go further up the ladder for next season. I enjoy playing full back for England but actually don't mind being put anywhere I'm needed."
In today's other game Argentina beat the USA in the dying minutes of the game 34-30 and will now meet England in next Sunday's Churchill Cup final.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Newcastle Falcons (kick off 3pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys emphasised the importance this weekend of Gloucester building on last week's impressive home victory against the Exeter Chiefs.
Speaking to the assembled national and local media, try-scorer Jonny May was delighted and relieved to have tasted victory on Saturday evening, and is looking forward to the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
Tom Savage delivered a Man of the Match performance against Exeter Chiefs on his birthday on Saturday evening. He spoke to GRTV after the game about the importance of the European Rugby Challenge Cup win.
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester Rugby return to Aviva Premiership action against the Newcastle Falcons on Saturday (Kingsholm, kick off 3pm), and make several changes to the side that defeated Exeter Chiefs at home last weekend.
With a fantastic rugby season coming to a thrilling climax and the prospect of the world's best battling it out in our back garden in September and October, there has never been a better time to quiz your Gloucester Rugby and home nation heroes on what makes them tick.