Callard - Seymour the new Robinson
June 10, 2006

JON CALLARD hailed Dave Seymour as a new Andy Robinson after England Saxons booked a place in the Plate final of the Barclays Churchill Cup with a six-try victory over Canada.

And Head Coach Callard has challenged the 21-year-old man-of-the-match, also impressive in defeat to Scotland last week at the same York Stadium in Toronto, to better his game when England meet Ireland A in Edmonton next Saturday (12pm local/7pm UK).

The pony-tailed Saracens open-side was at the forefront of a dominant pack, which saw tries for fellow back rows Kai Horstmann and replacement Ben Woods and polished finishing from backs Delon Armitage - twice in four minutes - Richard Haughton and Chris Bell.

Callard likened the England Sevens player - until three years ago at Oxfordshire junior club Chinnor - to his former Bath team-mate and current England Head Coach Andy Robinson.

"David has set his benchmark in the last two games and now he has to go out and better that," said Callard. "He was very special today - I thought he played superbly.

"He has come through the ranks very well. Mike Friday (England Sevens coach) has given him the confidence to play and also what's happened at Saracens has been excellent; this is another part of his progression.

"We are crying out for No 7s in the game generally - I'm not just talking about England. It seems that we have gone away from the old growlers like Andy Robinson, sniffing the ball out and getting their heads where it hurts.

"But like Robbo, David is a genuine open-side, his support play is good, he links well, he's courageous and I'd like to think that by the end of this tour he will be somewhere near that Elite Player Squad when it's announced at the end of July."

A modest Seymour said: "All the back row (Luke Narraway and Horstmann) are sevens or ex-sevens players so this kind of weather probably suited us a bit more but the tight five were phenomenal and we don't perform if they don't. We saw more of the backs today as well and all round it was a better performance."

Callard paid tribute to all his players, saying: "I said to the squad that they could end up on the cutting room floor after today's game. But they have put their hands up and I hope that Andy Robinson and John Wells say 'yes, these guys can play at a higher level'."

England got off to a dream start, scoring after four minutes when Haughton took Richard Wigglesworth's pass and though opposite wing Justin Mensah-Cocker got his hand to the ball, Saracens' England Sevens flier raced in.

Dave Walder missed the conversion but kicked a penalty before Bell had a try disallowed after Irish referee Olan Trevor judged Narraway's final pass forward.

However, the Saxons fans - buoyed by England's football World Cup victory earlier in the day as well as the sin-binning of Canadian lock Matt Phinney for fighting- didn't have to wait long for Delon Armitage to weave his way through heavy traffic to the line.

Three minutes later Armitage took advantage of Walder's break to race in with Mensah-Coker on his back and though Canada struck back through a Nik Witkowski try, the Saxons were 20-5 ahead at the break.

Mensah-Cocker almost broke through early in the second half but slipped straight into Armitage's tackle and things got worse for the winger in the 50th minute when Haughton stepped inside him to feed Horstmann, who crashed through three tackles and stretched to score.

Haughton was at it again in the 62nd minute, going inside and then outside Mensah-Cocker before slipping the ball one-handed to Bell on his left shoulder.

Captain Ben Johnston was sin-binned for a high tackle and though Ander Monro kicked the resultant penalty, England finished Canada off when Woods drove over just before the final whistle.

England meet Ireland A, who lost to New Zealand Maori 27-6 in San Franciso, and Johnston said: "Losing to Scotland really hurt us but having had that game and a couple more training sessions we have started to gel. But next week is going to be another step up."

Canada: E Fairhurst (University of Victoria); J Mensah-Coker (Meraloma),N Witkowski (Coventry), D Spicer (University of Victoria), M Pyke (Edinburgh Gunners); A Monro (Edinburgh Gunners), M Williams (Stade Francais); M Barbieri (Overmarch Parma), A Abrams (Castaway-Wanderers), M Pletch (Oakville Crusaders), L Tait (Overmarch
Parma), M Phinney (Meraloma), D Biddle (Meraloma), A Kleeberger (University of Victoria), S-M Stephen (Oakville Crusaders). Reps: P Riordan (Burnaby Lake, for Abrams 52), D Pletch (Oakville Crusaders, for Barbieri 39), H Buydens (Saskatoon Wild Oats, for Pletch 66), O Atkinson (Velox Valhallians, for Tait 56), K Witkowski (Castaway-Wanderers, for Williams 73), A Carpenter (Brantford Harlequins, for D Biddle 68), C Culpan (Meraloma, for Monro 56-61 & N Witkowski 75).

Sinbinned: Phinney 17-27 (fighting)

Scorers: Try - N Witowski; Pens - Munro (2)

England Saxons: D Armitage (London Irish); R Haughton (Saracens), B Johnston (capt, Saracens), C Bell (Leeds Tykes), A Crockett (Bath Rugby); D Walder (Newcastle Falcons), R Wigglesworth (Sale Sharks); M Ward (Newcastle Falcons), D Paice (London Irish), R Morris (Newcastle Falcons), N Kennedy (London Irish), K Roche (London Irish), L Narraway (Gloucester), D Seymour (Saracens), K Horstmann (Worcester Warriors).

Reps: J Buckland (Leicester Tigers, for Paice 71), D Barnes (Bath Rugby, for Morris 62), J Hudson (Bath Rugby, for Kai Horstmann 73), B Woods (Newcastle Falcons, for Seymour 68), C Stuart-Smith (Llanelli Scarlets, for Armitage 80), S Vesty (Leicester Tigers, for Haughton 75), A Erinle (London Wasps for Crockett 62).

Sinbinned: Johnston 64-74 (high tackle)

Scorers: Tries - Armitage (2), Bell, Haughton, Horstmann, Woods; Pen -
Walder; Cons - Walder (4).

Referee: Trevor Olan (Ireland)

(Photo: Morgan Williams goes slightly high on a David Seymour tackle attempt. Tim Fry Photo)