England ease past Barbarians

27th May 2012, 20:16

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Three tries: Chris Ashton

Three tries: Chris Ashton

England wing Chris Ashton bagged a hat-trick to help his team to a record 57-26 win over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.

England wing Chris Ashton bagged a hat-trick to help his team to a record 57-26 win over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.

The hosts, who scored eight tries in all, produced a performance of intensity and ambition which ensures Stuart Lancaster's side can approach their tour to South Africa in good heart.

England showed a willingness to swing the ball wide at every opportunity, but will be disappointed to have conceded four tries to the Barbarians.

Lancaster's troops scored first when Ashton collected Lee Dickson's cleverly disguised inside pass to trot over under the posts in the 18th minute.

England lock Mouritz Botha - who was everywhere in a typically hardworking display - put his head down and charged for the corner on the half hour mark, only to be kept out by some brave Barbarians defending.

But the invitational side struck back three minutes later, with New Zealand's 100-Test cap full-back Mils Muliaina finishing classily after former England wing Iain Balshaw's chip ahead bounced into his path. Fellow Kiwi and 2011 Rugby World Cup hero Stephen Donald added the extras.

But England took control in the closing moments of the half.

First Dylan Hartley - on his return to action after an eight-week biting ban - scored after a clinical catch-and-drive line-out move. Ashton then scooted over for his second after Hartley's powerful break gave space for Farrell to deliver a simple scoring pass.

Ashton collected his hat-trick just five minutes after the break before Muliaina, who was superb in attack and defence, collected Casey Laulala's stunning offload to score in the corner.

As the game reached the hour mark, Christian Wade marked his debut with a try. The London Wasps flier looked dangerous with his pace throughout but the 21-year-old had the simple task of ambling over the line after captain Phil Dowson's perfectly timed pass.

The heat rose at Twickenham but the tries kept on coming, with former England captain Mike Tindall barging through two would-be tacklers after taking a quick tap penalty.

Then replacement scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth neatly sidestepped his way under the posts after Ashton raced clear down the right.

Jonathan Joseph became the second senior debutant to score, collecting Farrell's kick to take advantage of a gaping hole in the Barbarians defence, before replacement Raphael Lakafia grabbed a late consolation for the visitors. Joseph then added another at the death.

The scorers:

For England:
Tries: Ashton 3, Hartley, Joseph 2, Wade, Wigglesworth
Cons: Farrell 7
Pen: Farrell

For Barbarians:
Tries: Muliaina 2, Taele-Pavihi, Tindall
Cons: Contepomi, Donald 2

England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Brad Barritt, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Paul Doran Jones, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Matt Stevens.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Matt Mullan, 18 Joe Launchbury, 19 Jamie Gibson, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Jonathan Joseph, 22 Alex Goode.

Barbarians: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Ian Balshaw, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 John Beattie, 6 Ernst Joubert, 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Mark Chisholm, 3 John Afoa, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Neemia Tialata.
Replacements: 16 Benoit August, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Pelu Taele, 19 Raphael Lakafia, 20 Jerome Fillol, 21 Felipe Contepomi, 22 Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)