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Rugby Union: England A keep superiority complex.

Mark Mapletoft racked up 18 points in a first-half purple patch for England A who produced four converted tries and maintained their superiority over Ireland at second team level with a 28-21 victory in Dublin yesterday.

Gloucester stand-off Mapletoft scored two tries, converted both and also added the points to scores by Ben Clarke and Chris Catling.

England trailed 7-0 after only four minutes but scored all their points between the tenth and 34th minutes before staving off a furious fightback. It was England's 11th win in 12 Anglo-Irish contests at A-team level.

Irish wing Niall Woods ran 25 yards for a fourth-minute score, converted by Simon Mason.

But then, as England's back row of Ben Clarke, Adam Vander and Tony Diprose took charge, Clarke stormed over on the blind side of a ruck.

The ball was then moved 120 yards at high speed, with Spencer Brown making the break and full-back Catling running in.

Mapletoft, having converted both tries and set up one score, monopolised events as England swept clear. He chipped over and collected for his first try and surged 50 yards for his second.

Another two conversions for Mapletoft left England 28-7 ahead in the 34th minute. But Ireland's Gabriel Fulcher was driven over from a line-out just before half-time.

The Irish managed only one second-half score, by centre Shane Horgan.

Arwel Thomas landed five penalties as Wales A staged a second-half fightback to beat their French counterparts 20-17 in Perigueux last night.

Wales trailed 14-6 at half-time but a try from New Zealand-born back-row forward Richard Arnold and three Thomas penalties turned the match.

French tries by Thierry Cleda and Dacquois Giordani, both converted by Yann Delaigue, against two Thomas penalties, put the home side in the driving seat.

But Thomas landed two penalties to rekindle Welsh hopes before the break.

Then three Thomas penalties early in the second half edged Wales in front at 15-14.

Delaigue landed a penalty in the 57th-minute to restore France's lead but Arnold grabbed the only try of the game in the 64th minute.

Scotland ran in eight tries in winning a one-sided A international 61-6 against Italy at Netherdale last night.
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Title Annotation:National
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 6, 1999
Words:362
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