England v Baa Baas 2018 - Martch report
May 31 2018
England lost a 15-try-thriller to the Barbarians going down 45-63 in the Quilter Cup match at Twickenham. Chris Ashton bagged a hat-trick, and was joined on the scoreboard by Victor Vito (2), Semi Radradra, Sateleki Timani, Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell, who also nudged 14 points from the boot. England fought back through tries from Elliot Daly, Piers Francis (2), Zach Mercer, Joe Launchbury and Jonny May whilst George Ford converted each one and slotted a penalty for a 15-point tally but it was not enough to prevail at Twickenham.
Nine tries were scored in a dramatic first half as the Barbarians raced to a 21-0 lead after just 12 minutes.
The Baa Baas struck after just three minutes, as Radradra broke from inside his own 22 and down the right flank. He connected with Tuisova who unleashed Ashton to score. Russell added the extras.
Ashton had his second moments later, after the TMO deemed the grounding of his neat chip-and-chase good, and Vito got the invitational side’s third, getting on the end of a well-weighted Russell grubber to surge over from close range.
England regrouped however, and their response was immediate, as they scored two tries in as many minutes. First, Daly received the ball 10 metres from the opposition line and cut back against a drifting defence - holding off two men to power over.
Then from the restart, after being put through a gap, hooker Jack Singleton cantered deep into the Barbarians half before assisting Francis. Ford’s two conversions narrowed the deficit to seven points.
Ashton crossed for his hat-trick on the 25-minute mark after linking with Russell, but England continued to plug away. Daly was found in space deep in opposition territory and scythed through the defence before popping an offload into the path of Mercer – who scored on his first senior start.
Francis’ second momentarily levelled the match before Ashton and Russell combined yet again for the latter to cross on the stroke of half time, making it 28-35.
Radradra struck early in the second half, as the Baa Baas’ momentum continued, but a solitary Ford penalty followed by a Launchbury try cut the gap to four points.
On the hour mark, Pat Lam’s men strung together a series of offloads down the right flank – initiated by Malakai Fekitoa – for Timani to touch down in the corner, and in the dying moments of the match, Laidlaw crashed over from short range to confirm the win.
A late May score got the Twickenham crowd on their feet, after Danny Cipriani drilled a ball along the ground for him to collect, but it would be a consolation score, as Vito crossed one final time
England: 15. Elliot Daly, 14. Jonny May, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Piers Francis, 11. Mike Brown, 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs, 1. Joe Marler, 2. Jack Singleton, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Elliott Stooke, 5. Joe Launchbury, 6. Chris Robshaw, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Zach Mercer
Finishers: 16. George McGuigan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18. Nick Schonert, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Mark Wilson, 21. Dan Robson, 22. Danny Cipriani, 23. Denny Solomona
Barbarians: 15. Chris Ashton (Toulon & England), 14. Josua Tuisova (Toulon & Fiji), 13. Semi Radradra (Toulon), 12. Josh Matavesi (Newcastle Falcons & Fiji), 11. Niyi Adeolokun (Connacht & Ireland), 10. Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors & Scotland), 9. Rhodri Williams (Bristol & Wales), 1. Denis Buckley (Connacht), 2. Benjamin Kayser (Clermont & France), 3. John Afoa (Gloucester & New Zealand), 4. Ultan Dillane (Connacht & Ireland), 5. Sateleki Timani (Clermont & Australia), 6. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon & Argentina, Captain), 7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys & Wales), 8. Victor Vito (La Rochelle & New Zealand)
Replacements: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester & Australia), 17. Loni Uhila (Clermont), 18. Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais & Argentina), 19. Joe Tekori (Toulouse & Samoa), 20. Nili Latu (Newcastle Falcons & Tonga), 21. Greig Laidlaw (Clermont & Scotland), 22. Luke McAlister (Toulon & New Zealand), 23. Malakai Fekitoa (Toulon & New Zealand)