Backheeled conversion caps Barbarians' 52-21 rout of England

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LONDON (AP) — A cheeky backheeled conversion capped a scintillating eight-try display by the Barbarians as the invitational rugby team thrashed England 52-21 despite playing with 14 men for 43 minutes of the match at Twickenham on Sunday.

It ended up being a humiliating afternoon for England and its coach, Eddie Jones, who was without players from Leicester and Saracens — they played in the English Premiership final on Saturday — and put out an experimental team that was outclassed by a BaaBaas lineup which had been together for just a week.

Australian lock Will Skelton became the first player sent off in Barbarians history when his shoulder to the head of Patrick Schickerling ended the England prop’s afternoon because of a failed head injury assessment.

That didn't stop the Barbarians toying with the English as Charles Ollivon, Damian Penaud (two), Baptiste Couilloud, Louis Carbonel, Max Spring and Antoine Hastoy all crossed for tries to follow on from an early penalty try.

Former England lock George Kruis captained the BaaBaas and converted three of the tries — one of them while facing the wrong way as he backheeled the ball over the crossbar and between the posts in his final professional game before retirement.

It was the biggest win for the Barbarians against England, giving Jones food for thought ahead of next month’s three-test series Down Under against Australia.

Jones played down the significance of the rout.

“We approached the game in a particular strategic way. We wanted to try to play a bit differently, extend ourselves and give the young guys an opportunity (to) show their ability, particularly with the ball,” Jones said.

“But we were beaten pretty badly at the breakdown, so it’s a good reminder of how much work we have to do before Australia. From that point of view I’m really pleased with what we did.

“I’m not pleased with how we performed. I’m pleased with the intent of what we tried to do and it’s great preparation for Australia. But obviously not happy with the result."

Even the arrival of Danny Care early in the third quarter for his first international appearance in nearly four years failed to inspire the disjointed hosts, whose experimental lineup fired only in sporadic bursts.

As a mark of respect for former Wales international Phil Bennett, who died last Sunday, the Barbarians players formed the number 10 before a minute’s applause was heard for a player who represented the invitational club 20 times.


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