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.