Two second-half Hosea Gear tries secured a much-needed 39-29 victory for the Barbarians over England at Twickenham on Sunday.
Two second-half tries from Hosea Gear secured a much-needed 39-29 triumph for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham on Sunday.
Following two poor results in 2013 that saw the team go down to England and the British & Irish Lions, this was the perfect tonic for the Baa-baas.
They mixed expansive play with intelligent rugby as two penalties were kicked at goal, with coach Dean Ryan and assistant Mike Tindall clearly having given a plan to win first, entertain second.
England though will take some positives from the game, the first being the performance of young fly-half Henry Slade, who put in a workmanlike shift that would have caught the attention of Stuart Lancaster in New Zealand ahead of the Tests.
But in the end it was the Barbarians' day as first-half scores from Benson Stanley and Juan Martin Hernandez were backed up after the break by Mamuka Gorgodze and that brace from Gear.
England had taken the lead in the fourteenth minute as number eight Dave Ewers reached out to make it 0-7 with the conversion before the Baa-baas replied when Gear, Rene Ranger and Stanley combined to send over the latter. Brock James' conversion tied the scores.
Ranger would then be harshly penalised in the tackle which allowed England full-back Elliot Daly, taking over from a bloodied Slade, to make it 7-10 before Charlie Sharples crossed from a nice Ollie Devoto grubber. It was now 7-15 with 24 minutes gone at Twickenham.
James would then find Gear with a lovely cross-kick on halfway that led to Hernandez strolling over though, as the scoreline was cut to 14-15 before Slade slotted three more.
The second stanza would be open with the Barbarians on top as Gorgodze's power pushed them in front for the first time in the contest, the conversion from James making it 21-18.
Ryan's men were clearly craving the victory when James went for goal six minutes later.
But England would have something to cheer soon after as Slade claimed an unconverted try that made it 23-27 before he sent over another three points on the hour mark for 26-27.
However, then came the class of Gear as his two tries, in the 64th and 76th minute had world class finisher written all over them, with the Barbarians comfortably holding on.
Tries: Ewers, Sharples, Slade
Pen: Slade 3, Daly
Tries: Stanley, Hernandez, Gorgodze, Gear 2
Con: James 3, Trinh-Duc
Pen: James, Trinh-Duc
England: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Charlie Sharples, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Fraser Balmain, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Rob Miller.
Barbarians: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Brock James, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Mamuka Gorgodze, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Juan Manuel Leguizamon (c), 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Nahuel Lobo, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Anthony Tuitavake.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)