England Saxons 37-6 Canada

Miles Benjamin juggles before claiming the ball and setting off to score the Saxons' second try
The powerful Benjamin provided the cutting edge with two tries for the Saxons

England Saxons thrashed Canada in the last-ever Churchill Cup final as World Cup contenders such as Matt Stevens made their final bid to earn a place in England's training squad.

England boss Martin Johnson will reveal the 45-man extended squad on Monday.

Tries from James Gaskell and Miles Benjamin helped the Saxons into a 15-6 lead at the break, Canada's points coming from a drop-goal and penalty.

Benjamin scored a second before Charlie Sharples and Jamie Gibson went over.

Stevens will have done his chances of making England's World Cup training squad no harm with a powerful scrummaging performance at Worcester's Sixways ground in the final game in the Churchill Cup, which is coming to an end after nine years in existence.

The Saxons went in front when Sale blind-side Gaskell, surely one for the future, fed full-back Mike Brown and looped round to take the return pass and score a fine try out wide, although Rory Clegg failed to add the conversion to an early penalty.

Canada, who had opened their account through an Ander Monro drop-goal, were typically committed and physical but they lacked the class of the Saxons.

The North Americans looked laboured on occasion with the ball in hand and when a passing move broke down under pressure from Gaskell's tackle, lethal Worcester wing Benjamin was on hand to intercept and race over in front of his home crowd at Sixways.

Clegg converted and although James Pritchard landed a penalty for Canada, the Saxons led 15-6 at the break.

England's second string had not had it all their own way in the opening period as they tried to go wide too soon and they initially failed to tighten things up after the interval.

However, as the half wore on their greater threat began to tell and they added a third try when Benjamin powered onto an astute kick from Clegg before diving over.

Clegg converted to add to an earlier penalty and they rounded things off with further tries from Gloucester flyer Sharples and London Irish back-rower Gibson, the latter converted by Clegg, who was named man of the match.

"We knew exactly what Canada were going to bring to the party," said Saxons coach Stuart Lancaster. "We knew it would take the full 80 minutes to break them down and it was a good performance. If you had said beforehand we would win 37-6, I would have taken it.

"Canada are a fit side and well organised. We dropped off a bit either side of half-time, but the more experienced players stepped up and we finished it off well."

Lancester also hailed the impact of Saracens prop Stevens, who continued his impressive comeback from a two-year drugs ban with another solid display.

"From my point of view, Matt has been outstanding," said Lancaster.

"He has come in, added an experienced voice and played three lots of 80 minutes on the bounce in this tournament.

"He has been great off the field, and on the field he has delivered for me and the other coaches. It's a tick for me in the box."

England Saxons: Brown; Sharples, Trinder, Twelvetrees, Benjamin; Clegg, Hodgson; Mullan, Paice, Stevens, Botha, Kitchener, Gaskell, Johnson, Crane.

Replacements: Gray, Catt, Gibson, Fearns, Young, Goode, Ojo.

Canada: Evans; Hearn, Mackenzie, Smith, Pritchard; Monro, White; Buydens, Riordan, Marshall, Erichsen, Cudmore, Sinclair, O'Toole, Carpenter.

Replacements: Tiedemann, Franklin, Hotson, Dala, Makenzie, Hirayama, Trainor.

Referee: Romain Poite (France).

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