Saxons boss hails Geraghty
Dropped fly half is first class says Lancaster
By Simon Dilger. Last Updated: January 31, 2010 5:53pm
Geraghty: 'First class'
England Saxons boss Stuart Lancaster has paid tribute to Shane Geraghty following the 17-13 victory over Ireland 'A' at The Rec.
"He was always going to start at 10 in this game. He is someone whose progress I have followed closely, and I think he has grown up a lot, both as a player and as a person"
Stuart Lancaster Quotes of the week
The Northampton fly-half was left out of England manager Martin Johnson's revised elite squad earlier this month, despite playing in two of the three autumn internationals last year.
However Geraghty produced a masterful performance for the Saxons, scoring a try and booting seven points to help his side see off a determined Irish outfit that had crushed them 49-22 in last summer's Churchill Cup final.
"Shane's contribution was first class," said Lancaster, whose squad now go on to face Italy A in Treviso next Sunday.
"He was always going to start at 10 in this game. He is someone whose progress I have followed closely, and I think he has grown up a lot, both as a player and as a person.
"He has got self-confidence, and I am really pleased for him.
"He is in a very competitive position at 10. Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood are not poor players and Shane needs to build his overall game.
"But he has got that innate ability to develop and finish things when gaps open up."
Geraghty admitted that the Saxons had used their Churchill Cup demolition as motivation to win the showdown in Bath.
"The big thing was to win today," he said.
"Mentally this week, we talked about unfinished business from last summer and we wanted to go after them in attack and defence. All week, we had that mindset.
"Ireland are an experienced team, and it was very physical out there, but we backed ourselves in defence especially, which is what won us the game."
Lancaster added: "The average age of our side was only 23 with just 17 caps between them, up against an Ireland team with more than 300 caps. They had age and experience on their side.
"We didn't have it all our own way, but in the first half we took our chances and in the second half our defence was outstanding.
"It is nice to turn the tables on that Churchill Cup result.
"Irish rugby has been going very well, both internationally and provincially, so that is a fantastic win for us."