England 21-52 Barbarians: Eddie Jones side beaten ahead of Australian tour as 14-man Baa Baas go wild


England produced a worryingly poor performance ahead of their tour of Australia as they were beaten 52-21 by the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Eddie Jones’ side played 44 minutes with an extra man, after Will Skelton was shown a red card, but the Baa Baas, who had a number of the Six Nations winning side in France in their ranks, went wild for much of the second half.

A penalty try got the Barbarians started and seven more followed, with Damian Penaud going two goals past and Charles Ollivon, Baptiste Couilloud, Louis Carbonel, Max Spring and Antoine Hastoy also landing. In his last professional appearance, George Kruis, who earned 45 England caps, knocked down three conversions, including an outrageous backheel effort.

Between those tries there were a few cheering moments for England, who passed Joe Cokanasiga, Jonny May and Marcus Smith three times, but overall it was an afternoon to forget.

Jones will name his squad to travel to Australia on Monday, ahead of a three-test tour that begins July 2.

It was a largely low-key start to a game that traditionally brings entertaining and slightly chaotic rugby. The scoreboard was untroubled for the first 17 minutes, when Smith then sent in a penalty.

That shook things up and the Barbarians got going mid-half as Jonny May was sent to sin-bin for a deliberate knockout and the Baa Baas were awarded a penalty try.

Another giveaway came four minutes later when Barbarians captain Ollivon intercepted a loose pass and he had just about enough pace in the tank to go the length of the English half and ground the ball under the pressure from Harry Randall to make it 14-3.

The home side reduced that deficit when Cokanasiga stretched down the line after good work from Tommy Freeman and things got worse for the Baa Baas as replays of an incident in the build-up saw Skelton seen red for a high shot in the preparation. .

England were once again in a generous mood just before half-time, as Mark Atkinson passed it straight to Penaud in the bottom of 22 and the Frenchman went over for a mere try.

Damian Penaud scored two tries in a superb performance

/ Getty Images for Barbarians

Brilliant work from Yoan Tanga after the break saw him come to a stop just short of the try line, but Couilloud was ready and waiting to go over the top for Baa Baas’ fourth try.

May helped make up for his previous trip to sin-bin as he was discovered by Smith, then jumped inside to go through a relatively straightforward finish, cutting the deficit to 26-16.

But that lead was moved again to 15 points when Penaud produced a stunning finish on the outside, with a TMO review finding he had just about kept his boot in contact under pressure.

The man advantage was announced on the hour mark as the Baa Baas defended on their try line, leaving ample room for Smith to run, although another poor kick from the ‘opener’ meant he didn’t add the extras.

Marcus Smith went over the top but it had little impact on the scoreline

/ Action images via Reuters

Overall it was a very professional performance from the Barbarians, but there was a glimpse of traditional flair when Nolann Le Garrec kicked over and Louis Carbonel provided the finish.

The style was well and truly on as the spring passed after another stunning kick from Le Garrec, although it looked distinctly average when Kruis spurred a conversion past the posts.

Hastoy capped off a sensational display from Baa Baas in the dying seconds as Kruis blasted his way through his cheering teammates to score a hat-trick of conversions, those six points the most he had ever managed in a game.

Party atmosphere under the sun for the Barbarians, whose pleasure of the 80 minutes was probably not matched by Australia who will have their chance against England in two weeks.

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