England’s second string Saxons beat Ireland A at The Rec today by 17 points to 13, ending the 7-game unbeaten run of their visitors.
The win should be a good morale-booster for the England camp heading into the main RBS Six Nations competition next weekend.
The most interesting aspect of watching the Saxons play is identifying players that could make the step up to full England honours, and there were certainly a few of these in Bath.
Phi Dowson at Number 8 was outstanding, omnipresent and dynamic, strong in defence and determined in carrying the ball. Nick Easter, James Haskell and Lewis Moody are likely to start next week, but if Dowson continues this sort of form, he could be exerting pressure before the end of the Six Nations.
Scrum-half Ben Youngs also stood out, tantalising the Irish defenders around the fringes of the ruck, and he was instrumental in the first Saxons try.
Brad Barritt, the Saracens centre, also did his future England chances no harm at all. He is the sort of centre that Martin Johnson seems to like: big, strong and direct, and some of his offloads were exceptional.
This was a good win for the Saxons over a far more experienced Ireland A side – do you think this is an omen for the full side in the Six Nations?