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Monday, June 02, 2014

Star studded Barbarians too good for England XV at Twickenham

A talented Barbarians outfit scored five tries to beat an experimental England XV 39-29 in front of 50 000 fans at Twickenham on Sunday. Hosea Gear scored twice for the invitational side in a match that at times had a real Test match feel to it.

It was anything but the free-flowing, run at every opportunity type of game that we've come to expect from a Barbarians fixture, but there seemed to be a real determination in the effort, following on from the disappointing 59-8 hiding against the British & Irish Lions last year.

Henry Slade was impressive for England, as was Ollie Devoto in the midfield but with the likes of Rene Ranger and Gear running freely for the Barbarians, it was always going to be a challenge.

"The game was won because people kindly kicked to Hosea Gear," said pleased Babarians coach Dean Ryan. "I'm pleased we represented the Barbarians in a way that allows us to see the talents of a Hosea Gear but also sees us really work hard to win a game at the end."

England's main squad are already in New Zealand preparing for the three-Test series with the All Blacks, and then there is also the group of players that weren't available for selection due to Saturday's Aviva Premiership Final. That said, the Barbarians were made to work hard for the win.

It was great to see Georgian Mamuka Gorgodze in the famous strip, and another great achievement is that of French referee Mathieu Raynal, who you may remember had that horrific leg and collarbone break in a Top 14 match last year. It was great to see him out there again.

Posted by Rugbydump at 1:47 pm | View Comments (22)

Viewing 22 comments

jimmy23 June 02, 2014 5:22 pm

Considering the Baa Baa's had 700+ caps and England about 5 I'd say that's a decent effort. Would be great to see what Slade and Devoto can deliver for the future.
Always liked Gear, but when there are that many good wingers in NZ it must be quite that challenge to get a look in. Especially with Savea, aka. Lomu '2nd Edition', in the ranks.

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DrG June 02, 2014 6:42 pm

In the history of things, losing to the Baa baa's shouldn't happen.. You get a bunch of good players, lump them together a few days before a match then let them loose.. but in this case I think I'm willing to give England a bit of slack...

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DanKnapp June 03, 2014 6:04 am

Absolutely. As 10stonenumber10 says below, this was basically a competition between two Baa-bah outfits. I think the England XV acquitted themselves admirably and they've shown that the future is bright. I think Lancaster is just the man to have in charge of England, because I get the impression that every player in this match in a white shirt knew that they had a chance if they played well enough. Give Lancaster his due - he seems happy to give anyone a chance and everyone knows their position is under threat.

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DrG June 03, 2014 5:02 pm

Totally agree there Dan. As much as I respected Martin Johnson as his ability as a player, I found his coaching abilities; as far as I could tell, left a bit to be desired. I'm not sure if he didn't have a good player base, or gave too much credit to those that he KNEW had the potential but weren't firing on all cylinders at the time (he was playing them in the hope they got their form back)...

Stuart Lancaster I feel, comes across as a much more likeable character - he gets on with the media, loves to give credit to the opposition and isn't afraid to question his own players (in general - not individually) in front of the media, which as you said makes them feel a bit more vulnerable, rather than invincible. Whereas I feel with Martin Johnson, sometimes England had an appalling game and he still clung on when facing questions stating things like "Well it's the same with every team, you play better sometimes than others" or some political answer... Lancaster seems to turn around and say "yeup, we got spanked!"..

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10stonenumber10 June 03, 2014 7:00 pm

I think it is the difference between fear and respect. No matter how tough a player is out on the field, everybody wavers, some respond to a barrage at half time, some shut down.

Even if Johnno didn't give you the hairdryer treatment, it hardly pumps you up to be under the threat of it. He was straight talking with the media trying to find positives, but it was not a part of his game, nor was it a part of his real mentality while coaching. Beating the failure out of yourself on the training park because you missed a few tackles and dropped a few passes won't build a team.

Lancaster seems to use positive reinforcement. He speaks it as it is, then builds on the solution rather than a snap ready made answer. I doubt he needs to shout to catch the room's attention. I don't think Johnno had the man management skills off the field to be a successful coach. By all means he commanded respect, but you need to speak to people on their own level to get the best.

"Do what you do best" is a great way to play.

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DanKnapp June 04, 2014 8:31 am

You really get a sense of the school teacher in Lancaster.

For me as an England fan I love that he has made me feel pride in the national team again. I lost that to a certain extent with the previous squad and coaching team. It can be a bit schmaltzy, but I quite like that in a way.

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DrG June 04, 2014 8:45 am

I just think there is something about him that makes him truly likeable. There is no arrogance in him, which I have found with so many other big cheeses - As I said above, he can happily criticise his team if they play badly whereas others get their back up when someone insults their precious bunch, he is always full of praise for the opposition team, even if they've been pummelled. All in all, as you said he lets everyone know he will play ANYONE who is playing well, he's not interested in the special handshake brigade - you play well you're in, you play badly and you sit out until you get your form back.

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Juggernauter June 02, 2014 8:13 pm

Long live the Barbarians!

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10stonenumber10 June 02, 2014 8:41 pm

This was a good game all round.

Almost like an England Bah-bahs vs Rest of the World Bah-bahs.

Both playing heads up running rugby, with a bit of test match element involved too. As much as I hate seeing the BB team kick, it added a bit of drama to the game, more like an international than a friendly.

Daley slipped off Gear. Went hard at him and fluffed his momentum a bit. It happens sometimes if you go for a big player, like overhitting a golf ball the power is there but the momentum and connection isn't. Other than that, he seemed a real live wire, different kind of threat to Brown in attack, in my books a potential replacement for Jonny May (if he is considered the '1st XV' starter)

Slade took an 80 minute beating like an absolute champ, it seemed every hit fired him up. Centres looked useful, was a bit too distracted by Trinh-Duc's boots to watch them much... Rokoduguni was solid. I'd like to see him out there in NZ, full time soldier turned rugby player, the Haka is nothing compared to live fire situations... you know he won't lose his nerve!

Nice touch by the BBs to wear some socks from the two teams before. Rugby is all about the grassroots, and as everyone who has ever donned a shirt knows, Stash is King! The more random and obscure the better!!

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Facepalm June 02, 2014 9:01 pm

It was an awesome attacking performance yet again for Daly. Especially considering he's become a victim of his own versatility and has to play every game at full back. For someone who's so clearly an outside centre he sure as hell doesn't play there much.

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10stonenumber10 June 02, 2014 9:22 pm

England are determined to play a 17st outside centre. You never know in NZ though, Ben/Conrad Smith aren't the biggest, it would be good to see guile fought with guile rather than an all out meat war in the 3/4s.

Stick him on the wing. He won't be pinpointed by back row and ball carriers, and will be running with the pace of the game if he needs to cover 13 or 15. Less likely to fire back ping-pong ball, likes running with it, big hooray for counter attacking and every single fan sat at home rolling their eyes at every Up&Under.

I would rather play with someone 'fragile' but able to hurt a team than a solid 6.5/10 performer who might have an off day.

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DanKnapp June 03, 2014 11:25 am

What was your comment about the BBs wearing 'some socks from the two teams before' about? I didn't understand.

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10stonenumber10 June 03, 2014 12:08 pm

A lot of the BBs forgot their socks, there was a county game on the pitch before England vs BBs. Cornwall vs Lancashire I think, BBs borrowed socks off both.

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DanKnapp June 04, 2014 8:32 am

Ha, that is a nice touch. Not quite as nice a touch as Jerry Collins giving his team as Barnstaple and wearing their socks for one of his appearances, but nice all the same.

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DrG June 04, 2014 8:39 am

He got in a bit of doo doo back home for playing for them.

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10stonenumber10 June 04, 2014 2:00 pm

Barnstaple 2nd XV! He did actually play a game for them though when he was doing some coaching over here. I would have dropped a few bricks seeing him running the last minute passing drills for the makeshift back line. I don't think he tried to win that game, just stopped them losing with a few cover tackles and turnovers.

We had a similar situation in the Middlesex Merit League about 5 years ago. A few of our players had connections with a touring professional team, half of them decided they fancied an extra game on tour and turned out for us against a Vets/3rd XV. An ageing, overweight, social pub team against gym'd up 20 something european professionals was quite a humorous game. We played in good spirits, due to all the ringers we made a few mistakes that kept them in it, we lent them the backup kicker to keep things ticking over!

Michael Jordan had a "love of the game" clause in his contract. He was exempt from the cotton wool rules and could play whatever game he wanted, when he wanted, for whoever he wanted. I think the original Ronaldo and Ronaldinho had it too, can't be sure though.

It makes sense, I never got hurt too bad in the contact game, but a half arsed game of tag tore my Achilles, and mucking about in the park teaching my 12 year old cousin how to take a ball into contact knocked out 2 of my back teeth. Proud of him though, he is only about 4'10'', back rowers have been trying for 18 years to do that. I went to school with a lot of academy lads, they would have got into serious trouser soiling situations had they been caught playing so much as touch rugby with a bottle while waiting for the bus to arrive.

It is only dangerous if you aren't switched on, much more likely to happen if you play below your usual grade!

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DrG June 04, 2014 10:25 pm

Yeh, story goes (or is it legend tells?) that he was on a fairly local beach on holiday when one of the training staff spotted him and asked if he wanted to come down to the club - But I did hear because he was technically signed by one of the super clubs or the AB's at the time, he got into a bit of trouble as a result because I suppose if he'd got injured he'd have been a man down for them. I'd have loved to play against him.

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matt June 02, 2014 9:36 pm

You should watch a real Haka of old before you make comments like that.. You probably never faced one its something different. . The Maori challenge stopped battles between tribes thats how intimidating they were

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10stonenumber10 June 17, 2014 4:11 pm

Obviously I am not disrespecting the Haka, more a reflection on a soldier's ability to follow and complete orders to a high standard under strict protocol, without being influenced or affected by the external situation or intimidation, and without losing their head. Warriors show respect, they challenge, you accept the challenge, both have an equal chance at deciding the outcome. Bullets fly out of nowhere.

More odd references, but if you don't understand me, don't take offence!

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Canadian content June 03, 2014 5:43 pm

I'll tell u what, give Gear some pads and a helmet an he'd be an unbelievable kick returner in the NFL. Pace, power and fantastic swerving running lines. Get him back in the ABs set up. Savea and smith are great but Janes looking crappy, a great third option.

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kadova June 07, 2014 9:07 pm

Thanks alot RD for the video. I was driving at that time so i could not watch the match.
Great to see referee Mathieu Raynal on the pitch again, we were soo concerned when he got injured.
Happy the Barbarians won.

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Rugbydump June 09, 2014 8:17 am

You're welcome, Kadova! It's great to see him out there refereeing again.

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