Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Chris Ashton scored a hat-trick as England trounced the Barbarians 57-26 at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon. Last night the Barbarians bounced back, beating an Ireland XV 29-28 at Kingsholm in a tight game that was decided in the final few minutes.
England, who head to South Africa shortly for a far more demanding set of matches, had a good run out against an experienced Barbarians outfit. While many players were missing due to the Aviva Premiership final, coach Stuart Lancaster will have been satisfied with what he saw.
"I am pleased for Chris that he has got the three tries. His work rate off the ball is tremendous. Sometimes he can work and not get the off-loads but today he did and it is great," said Lancaster.
"Credit to him for working hard and getting the rewards. As a team we recognise areas we still want to improve and tighten up on but overall he and others did well. I am pleased."
Last night's Barbarians game against an Ireland XV wasn't televised unfortunately, but it was a much closer affair than the England romp. Felipe Contepomi kicked a late penalty to snatch the win.
Ireland's coach Declan Kidney said they were disappointed, especially ahead of their gruelling tour of New Zealand, but acknowledged that the Barbarians were a much improved outfit.
"We didn't have a full deck of cards but it was a brilliant opportunity for some of our fringe players."
Kidney will name his Ireland squad for the New Zealand tour on Wednesday.
The Barbarians face Wales next, in yet another Shane Williams farewell match. He will be playing against his country though, and coach John Kirwan says all the focus will be on the star winger.
"The game is all about Shane Williams. It will be his last ever match playing against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. All the squad want to play and it's a question of picking the right team."
Below are highlights of the England vs Barbarians match for those that missed it. We've also archived the full match, which you can view here.