- Chris Budgen brace seals win for Barbarians over Loughborough Students
- Invitational side open new Loughborough stadium
Photo: Getty Images
The Barbarians overcame spirited resistance from Loughborough Students and filthy weather conditions to ease to a 40-7 win over the SSE National Two North champions this evening.
The match officially marked the opening of Loughborough’s impressive new Holywell Park stadium and it attracted a large crowd despite incessant rain.
The Barbarians, who were coached by Scotland national coach Andy Robinson, remained committed to a non-kicking game despite conditions that made handling difficult while Loughborough were ferocious in defence and creative in attack.
It took the Barbarians a long time to break the Students’ resistance but a second close-range try from Exeter Chiefs and Army prop Chris Budgen after 54 minutes proved decisive.
The Barbarians pressed home their superiority in the final quarter when Ealing Trailfinders wing Phil Chester broke free on the left and galloped away to score followed by replacement centre Ross Broadfoot (Jersey) who pounced when Loughborough fumbled in defence and hacked on to score in the dying seconds.
The Barbarians’ win helped Robinson, a Loughborough old boy, to triumph against a side that included his son Olly, Loughborough’s mobile openside and pack leader.
It took the Barbarians eight minutes to open the scoring when former Great Britain rugby league centre Sean Long (Preston Grasshoppers) crossed for a try on his debut for the invitation club and Nottingham’s Japan international fly-half James Arlidge added the first of his five conversions.
Loughborough resisted for almost 20 minutes before John Carter, the Oxford University and former Sale Sharks number eight, picked up and drove over from the base of a scrum and Arlidge again added the extras.
The biggest cheer of the night came when Russell Weir, Loughborough’s scrum-half and captain, crossed after he took a quick tapped penalty and crossed for a try that fly-half Andy Hall improved.
But the sin-binning of Robinson five minutes later left Loughborough a man short and the Barbarians capitalised when Budgen was driven over for his first try at the end of the first half.
The Barbarians still had to defend determinedly before Budgen crossed for his second try and Chester and Broadfoot embellished the win.
15 Fraser Thomson (Melrose); 14 John Rudd (Rosslyn Park), 13 Nathan Brew (Neath an Wales), 12 Sean Long (Preston Grasshoppers and Great Britain rugby league), 11 Phil Chester (Ealing Trailfinders); 10 James Arlidge (Nottingham and Japan), 9 Sean Romans (Nottingham); 1 Chris Budgen (Exeter Chiefs and Army), 2 Joe Duffey (Nottingham, 3 Duncan Bell (Bath and England), 4 Craig Hammond (Nottingham), 5 Will Warden (Richmond), 6 Andrew Thomas (Carmarthen Quins), 7 Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), 8 John Carter (Oxford University).
Replacements used: Finlay Gillies (Glasgow), Ben Evans (Jersey and Wales), Haydn Pugh (Carmarthen Quins), Rob Malaney (Cambridge University), Chris Pilgrim (Newcastle Falcons), Ross Broadfoot (Jersey), Rory Teague (Cinderford).