Tuesday, June 03, 2008
A second-string England side limped to an unconvincing victory over the makeshift Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.
Nick Easter's try, and a penalty and conversion from Toby Flood gave England a 10-0 lead at the break after a poor first half.
Seilala Mapusua got the Barbarians back in the game with an interception try.
But Mathew Tait, who had a good game, scored a converted try to ensure England made it across the finishing line, with Gareth Thomas claiming a late Baa-Baas consolation.
Both sides struggled to hold onto the ball and the Barbarians were further undermined by their total inability to win their own line-outs. The only highlights for them being two stand out performers on the day, Mapusua and Pedrie Wannenburg.
Barbarians matches are traditionally open encounters but the first half of Sunday's game was a very scrappy affair. The same could be said for the game against the Irish, which is surely not a great advertisement for Barbarians rugby.
For England, they now have the daunting task of taking on the All Blacks in their own backyard. Hampered by injuries, they'll need to bring in available first choice players and up the intensity if they hope to compete against New Zealand, who also have a point to prove after their disastrous World Cup campaign.