Gloucester's James Simpson-Daniel bagged another try for England as they ran in 45-16 winners over Argentina in the final of the Churchill Cup.
Simpson-Daniel has played at centre, wing and briefly against the Pumas at fly half, and has scored a try in each fixture. The reports coming back from the North America tour have indicated an impressive few weeks for the young Kingsholm player.
An emerging England side reclaimed the Churchill Cup in Edmonton on Sunday night in grand style, dominating Argentina from the start, with the outcome never really in doubt and clocking up five tries, all by backs, to win 45-16.
The Pumas wasted no time in getting into their traditional mauling game and taking England on upfront but eight minutes in, England were awarded a penalty for Argentina coming into a ruck from the wrong side, allowing Andy Goode to get England's first three points on the board.
Argentina struggled to work effectively off their line outs and England more than matched the Pumas in strength in the mauls. England were making it clear they meant business in this final, constantly driving the game into their own comfort zone and when Argentine lock, Llanos, missed a tackle, James Simpson-Daniel slipped past three more Pumas to easily score England's first try. With Goode's conversion, England were a cool 10-0 up just fifteen minutes into the final. When Argentina were once more penalized for being offside in a ruck, Goode added three more to the England tally.
England continued to dominate the scrum, although when they were penalised for not releasing the ball, Argentina earned their first three penalty points, thirty minutes into the first half. The Pumas took heart and threatened a try, fully challenging the England defence. A try was not to be however, but their captain Matias Albina managed a quick drop goal to make it 13-6 to England.
England's superior power allowed them to keep dominating play, especially the driving mauls. Centre Chris Bell lost out in his try attempt, deemed to be held up but minutes later after another useful Goode pass, fullback Tom Voyce skipped over for England's second try, making it 18-6.
Not unexpectedly, the final was proving tetchy in patches and after a suspected punch by the Argentinian prop Pablo Henn on England flanker Chris Jones, England were awarded a penalty, taking the half time score to England 21- Argentina 6.
Two minutes into the second half, it was Argentina's turn for a penalty for an infringement in the ruck, creeping the score up to 21-9. Having lost three of their lineouts in the game up to this point, England decided to bring on hooker George Chuter.
The game continued to turn briefly in Argentina's favour when captain Pat Sanderson and Andy Goode failed to stop the Puma centre Avramovic from finding space and scoring a try. With the conversion successful, Argentina were now up to 16 against England's 21. Tempers frayed on both sides and Goode and Argentina's full back Francisco Bosch were both sin binned for a scuffle by South African referee Craig Joubert. Yet despite Goode being off, when England were offered a penalty, scrum half Pete Richards wasted no time in finding space between the posts, making it 24-16.
England started to find space and speed amongst the Argentine defence and thanks to wing Paul Sackey, Tom Voyce sped down the line to score his second try, converted this time by scrum half Andy Gomarsall who had just replaced Richards, taking England's points to almost double that of Argentina, 31-16
Although England often threatened more tries it wasn't until the last five minutes that James Simpson-Daniel drew his man to allow Paul Sackey to race in unopposed. Moments later, Bath back Andy Higgins broke the tackle and offloaded to replacement scrum half Andy Gomarsall inside, who darted over the line on 80 minutes. With another Goode conversion, England reclaimed the Churchill Cup in convincing fashion, beating Argentina 45-16
Full Back Tom Voyce who's total of three tries (two against Argentina and one against Canada) made him the highest try scorer in the Churchill Cup tournament, was understandably satisfied with his recent performances.
"Winning the Premiership with Wasps then having a successful Churchill cup has been great. I'm very pleased with this season and hopefully all this will set me up well for next season."
23 year-old Phil Dowson, the Newcastle Falcons number eight was a late call up into the England squad for the tournament yet started both games and impressed throughout.
"To get the late call up for the Churchill Cup was excellent and a massive opportunity for me. I've experienced Joe Lydon coaching before with England Sevens and have always enjoyed the way he coaches and hopefully I can take this experience with me now into next year. Playing in different environments is always beneficial and there's simply no substitute for experiences like this."
This was Joe Lydon's first England tour in charge and he was pleased with the way the players, coaches and management worked together.
"I was pleased with the performance. We played some good 15-man rugby at times and eradicated many of the mistakes of last week to produce a solid team effort. Our pack was immense and the scrum fantastic. To take Argentina on at their own game which is what they set out to do, was impressive. It was the forwards who laid the platform for the team's success and those tries scored by the outside backs. As expected the whole bench made a positive contribution, not only maintaining momentum but in all cases enhancing it.
"The players are the ones who will receive the well earned accolades for large parts of today's performance but there has been an awful lot of hard work by the whole of the management team, which have contributed to the squads tournament successes. Coaches Simon Hardy and Damian McGrath have been exceptional in bringing this squad together, and developing them individually, in the various units and as a team. "
England tries: Simpson-Daniel, Voyce (2), Sackey, Gomarsall
Conversions Goode 3, Gomarsall
Penalties Goode 3, Richards 1
Argentina tries: Avramovic
Drop goal 1
Voyce, Sackey, Simpson-Daniel, Bell, Tait, Goode, Richards, Freshwater, Mears, Turner, Deacon, Palmer, Jones, Sanderson, Dowson
Replacements used: Chuter for Mears, Shelley for Freshwater, Hooper for Deacon, Forrester for Jones, Gomarsall for Richards, Erinle for Tait, Higgins for Bell
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).