Wednesday, June 02, 2010
A day after the Guinness Premiership final, Twickenham was the venue once again as it hosted an entertaining match between England and the Barbarians, with the home side coming out 35-26 winners after dominating the first half.
The Barbarians, coached by Phillipe Saint Andre, came back strongly in the second half but England hung on to take the important win ahead of their tour of Australasia. They were without their Leicester players from the day before, and had three uncapped players in Dave Attwood, Jon Golding, and New Zealand born centre Shontayne Hape.
The Barbarians, who were only together for a week, had a few loose defensive efforts in the first half, with England finding gaps and breaking tackles with ease. Mark Cueto was a stand out as he ran good lines and offloaded when possible. He picked up the Man of the Match award.
"Performance-wise the first half was generally pretty good but the second was very disappointing, we didn't see much ball and were probably a little bit soft in defence," Nick Easter said afterwards. "But we showed character to grind out the win at the end."
Englands squad heads to Australia now where they will play two Tests and two midweek games, before crossing over to New Zealand to play the All Blacks.
"There aren't many fixtures to play at this time of year but it's a game that we needed before we go to Australia," said coach Martin Johnson afterwards.
"The game became loose at times and there's a danger that you'll get sucked into that and loose shape, which is exactly what the Barbarians want. The Barbarians chanced their arm at the breakdown and I'm not sure it would come off in a Test match - the referee obviously saw the game differently," he added.