Harry Ellis gave Martin Johnson a timely reminder of his quality with an impressive two-try display to help England Saxons ruthlessly sweep aside Portugal 66-0 at Edgeley Park.
The Leicester scrum-half, 26, returned to action after serving a six-week suspension for a spear tackle on Dan Carter during a Heineken Cup defeat at Perpignan in November.
Keen to make up for lost time, and with the RBS 6 Nations starting next weekend, the industrious Ellis stated his case for a recall to the senior side by touching down in the 21st minute and adding another shortly before half-time.
Stuart Lancaster's young side took 20 minutes to warm up on a bitterly cold night in Stockport but once Ellis had broken the deadlock they made their superior quality pay by running in five tries in each half.
Ellis' Leicester team-mates Tom Varndell (two), Matt Smith and Jordan Crane also got on the scoresheet along with Adam Powell (two), Noah Cato and Dominic Waldouck.
Ellis, perhaps more than any other player, will be hoping that England team manager Johnson was watching as he seeks to force his way back into the senior side ahead of next week's Six Nations opener against Italy at Twickenham.
The Tigers talisman, who has won 22 England caps and made four appearances off the bench during the November Tests, set the Saxons on their way when he emerged from a thicket of players to touch down from close range.
Five minutes later, Ed Barnes' teasing grubber kick was grounded by Powell and Varndell added a third shortly after when he caught Nick Abendanon's delightful crossfield kick to score in the right corner.
The hosts were aided by a yellow card for hooker Joao Correia in the 36th minute and Ellis soon claimed his second try with a similar effort to his first following another driving maul.
Abendanon unselfishly ushered Cato over the line in the left corner shortly before the break to hand the Saxons a commanding 33-0 advantage.
The Saxons initially struggled to impose themselves as vigorously in the second half but Waldouck still found the space to waltz through a static Portuguese defence for a sixth try shortly before the hour mark.
Smith found the space to add a seventh before Ellis left the action to generous applause from a crowd of 3,801.
There was still time for Varndell to add an eighth try with another well-taken score down the right flank before Crane and Powell also grounded to take the Saxons into double figures, with eight of their tries being converted.
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