Barbarians crush weak England team
LONDON, England -- A shadow England side were thrashed 52-39 by the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday as the invitational team turned on the style in an entertaining 13-try end-of-season match.
With 21 players away on Lions duty, the England XV was a virtual third team and few of them showed much to impress coach Joe Lydon before they travel to Canada to play in the Churchill Cup next month.
The Barbarians boasted a terrific lineup, almost unrecognizable from the team thumped 38-7 by Scotland in midweek, and cut loose from the start.
After an early Andy Goode penalty for England, the Barbarians scored the first try through Bruce Reihana.
Two good tries in three minutes by Wendell Sailor and the livewire Carlos Spencer around the half-hour mark stretched the Barbarians' lead.
Paul Sackey then scored a great try for England, breaking four attempted tackles in a 60 meter run to leave the halftime score 17-13 to the visitors.
The second half got of to a blistering start with three excellent tries in the first five minutes.
Centre Ayoola Erinle scored first for England but the Barbarians hit back with scores true to the free-running tradition of the invitational team.
A superb run by Spencer set up Reihana for his second and then a long-range counter-attack by South Africa fullback Brent Russell handed centre Trevor Halstead an easy finishing job.
England's tackling was poor and they were lucky to avoid another score against them after the irrepressible Sailor swept through midfield, but the former Kangeroos rugby league winger crossed minutes later, blasting from behind a ruck.
Russell then showed his great pace to score but Sackey, one of the few England successes, got his second in the 64th minute to stop the rot.
Russell hit back, producing a terrific sidestep to pass Pat Sanderson and claim his second score as the Barbarians threatened an embarrassing rout.
England rallied though and finished on top as James Simpson-Daniel, the injury-ravaged wing, supplied replacement James Forrester with the chance to score in the 74th minute and captain Sanderson forced his way over at the death.