Planet Rugby

Barbarians hold on at Twickenham

30th May 2009 18:07

Share:

Martin Corry against England

HQ goodbye: Martin Corry

England were taught a harsh first-half lesson in running rugby on Saturday as the Barbarians held on for an 33-26 victory at Twickenham.

It proved the perfect send-off for Martin Corry and Josh Lewsey to English rugby as Martin Johnson's youthful side shipped five tries - including two for the former red rose wing Iain Balshaw.

The hosts were outclassed for much of the game by a Barbarians team boasting seven former All Blacks and a total of 632 international caps.

Although Johnson should have the likes of Mark Cueto and Ben Kay available for next Saturday's first Test against Argentina, he will have major concerns over the state of England's flimsy defence heading up to Old Trafford.

Corry and Lewsey were key figures as the Barbarians opened a 14-0 lead with tries from Balshaw and Chris Jack before Ben Foden - one of six players making his first senior England start - produced a strong finish to score in the corner.

The Barbarians surged clear after the interval with embarrasing ease as Rocky Elsom and Gordon D'Arcy touched down either side of Balshaw's second try.

Jordan Turner-Hall, Tom May and Matt Banahan notched debut tries as the Barbarians wilted and England hit back in the closing stages to avoid a record defeat and regain some pride.

But England were too far behind and in the end they were mere consolation scores on a day reserved for the retiring World Cup-winning duo of Corry and Lewsey.

Both players head for Australia with the Barbarians tonight. For Corry it was a victorious end to his English career after missing out on Leicester's Guinness Premiership triumph a fortnight ago.

And as Lewsey left the field to a standing ovation he would have been justified to feel as though a point had been proved to Johnson, who made it clear earlier this season that his England career was over.

The Wasps centre created the opening try with a deft kick in behind the England defence and although Balshaw was offside it was not spotted by the officials and he scooped up the loose ball to score.

After an uninspiring start, including a missed penalty from Goode, that sparked England into action.

Armitage sliced through the Barbarians defence and Goode almost creating a try for himself with a neat chip over the top only to be denied by a finger-tip interception by Justin Marshall.

Jamie Noon scorched around the outside of Glenn Jackson but he was felled just short of the line as the Saracens fly-half recovered well to catch him with an excellent tap-tackle.

But in defence England were disorganised and that allowed the Barbarians' more enterprising approach to pay dividends.

Jack galloped over in the corner and Ben Blair converted to open a 14-0 lead after Corry's barnstorming run through the middle.

England responded positively and finally worked a breakthrough after 33 minutes when Danny Care and Chris Robshaw combined to send Foden over in the corner.

The versatile Northampton back, playing today on the right wing, is renowned more for his pace and footwork than his power but he held off two tacklers after latching onto Robshaw's inside pass to score in the corner.

Johnson made one change at the interval with May replacing Noon in midfield but the second half was barely two minutes old when England were ripped apart again.

The rampaging Elsom, who is heading back to Australia after helping Leinster win the Heineken Cup, burst onto a pass from the brilliant Blair and outpaced Nick Easter to score.

Blair missed his first conversion attempt of the afternoon but was soon presented with another touchline opportunity after Balshaw touched down for his second try.

D'Arcy was given the freedom of Twickenham by some more weak England defence and hooker Schalk Britz sent the Biarritz-bound winger ghosted over untouched.

This was now embarrasing and it got worse. Lewsey danced around both Louis Deacon and Steve Borthwick before supplying the scoring pass to D'Arcy, who sauntered under the posts.

Armitage, whose class at full-back stood out despite the failings of those around him, saved England the ignominy of conceding a 50-metre to a hooker when he executed a brilliant last-ditch tackle to haul Britz into touch just as the South African reached for the line.

England managed to avoid a record defeat with a glut of three tries in quick succession as the Barbarians began to tire in the closing stages.

All three were created by kicks from Goode, who picked out Turner-Hall, May and then Banahan as England closed to within one score with five minutes remaining.

Lewsey was given a rousing farewell as he was replaced Mike Catt in what could also prove to be the veteran fly-half general's final big-match appearance at Twickenham.

The scorers:

For England:

Tries: Foden, Turner-Hall, May, Banahan

Con: Goode 3

For Barbarians:

Tries: Balshaw 2, Jack, Elsom, D'Arcy

Con: Blair 4

England: 15 Delon Armitage (London Irish), 14 Ben Foden (Northampton), 13 Jamie Noon (Newcastle), 12 Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins), 11 Matt Banahan (Bath), 10 Andy Goode (Brive), 9 Danny Care (Harlequins), 8 Nick Easter (Harlequins), 7 Lewis Moody (Leicester), 6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), 5 Louis Deacon (Leicester), 4 Steve Borthwick (Saracens, capt), 3 David Wilson (Newcastle), 2 Dylan Harltey (Northampton), 1 Tim Payne (Wasps).

Replacements: 16 Steve Thompson (Brive), 17 Nick Wood (Gloucester), 18 Chris Jones (Sale Sharks), 19 Steffon Armitage (London Irish), 20 James Haskell (Wasps), 21 Paul Hodgson (London Irish), 22 Tom May (Newcastle).

Barbarians: 15 Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues & New Zealand), 14 Doug Howlett (Munster & New Zealand), 13 Josh Lewsey (London Wasps & England), 12 Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster & Ireland), 11 Iain Balshaw (Gloucester Rugby & England), 10 Glen Jackson (Saracens), 9 Justin Marshall (Saracens & New Zealand), 8 Rocky Elsom (Leinster & Australia), 7 Serge Betsen (London Wasps & France), 6 Jerry Collins (Toulon & New Zealand), 5 Chris Jack (Saracens & New Zealand), 4 Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers & England, captain), 3 Greg Somerville (Gloucester Rugby & New Zealand), 2 Schalk Brits (Stormers & South Africa), 1 Clarke Dermody (London Irish & New Zealand).

Replacements: 16 Sebastien Bruno (Sale Sharks & France), 17 B J Botha (Ulster & South Africa), 18 Paul Tito (Cardiff Blues), 19 Phil Waugh (Waratahs & Australia), 20 Chris Whitaker (Leinster & Australia), 21 Mike Catt (London Irish & England), 22 Ratu Nasiganiyavi (Waratahs).

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Hugh Watkins (Wales)

Television match officials: Brian Abrahams (England), Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)

Assessor: Ed Morrison (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs Tasman19:35
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26