14-man Barbarians humiliate England ahead of Australia tour

·3-min read

The Barbarians inflicted a crushing 52-21 defeat upon England at Twickenham on Sunday despite playing more than half the match a man down after Will Skelton was sent off.

Skelton became the first player in the history of the Barbarians to see red when the Australia lock was dismissed for a shoulder charge to the head of Exeter prop Patrick Schickerling.

Nevertheless, a Barbarians side comprised mainly of French players and coached by Fabien Galthie, who guided France to a Six Nations Grand Slam this season, still scored eight tries.

France star Damian Penaud crossed twice, with Baptiste Couilloud, Louis Carbonel, Max Spring and Antoine Hastoy also on the scoresheet.

England were without several first-choice players following Saturday's Premiership final between Leicester and Saracens.

And they suffered a setback before kick-off when Alex Dombrandt was ruled out by a knee injury, placing a question mark over the Harlequins back-row's availability for England's tour of Australia next month.

England coach Eddie Jones, due to unveil his squad for the three-Test series against the Wallabies on Monday, accepted his team had been well-beaten.

- 'Contextual situation' -

But with Barbarians matches traditionally more free-flowing affairs than full Tests, the Red Rose boss stressed the "contextual situation" of the final scoreline in the build-up to next year's World Cup.

"No one is happy about the result but, again, we look at it in the light of what we're trying to do," said Jones.

"There's a contextual situation here...We're trying to build a new team, play a different way, a style that suits that players and there are going to be some ups and downs.

"I don't know, if we would have played a normal England game, what the score would have been but that's not what we wanted out of the game," added Jones, who insisted England had wanted to defeat the invitational Barbarians.

So dominant were the Barbarians that former England lock George Kruis, in his final match before retirement, kicked three conversions including an outrageous backheel.

The Barbarians made light of Skelton's exit to finish the match in style.

Nolann Le Garrec chipped over the defence for Carbonel to touch down and there was even better to come when Spring crowned a sweeping move before Hastoy completed the rout.

Before kick-off, the Barbarians formed the No 10 as a mark of respect for former Wales fly-half Phil Bennett, whose death at the age of 73 was announced last Sunday.

Players and spectators then joined in a minute's applause for Bennett, who initiated arguably rugby union's greatest try when side stepping near his own line during the Barbarians' 1973 win over New Zealand in Cardiff, with a minute's applause.

"We've been watching clips of him all week of him and obviously the famous 1973 try in Cardiff has been played numerous times," said assistant coach Shaun Edwards of Bennett, who played 20 times for the Barbarians.

"I was lucky enough to meet him on numerous occasions in Wales and one thing that always shone out was his humility for such a great player."

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