- Five-try England defeat Barbarians with 19 points from Burns
- Yarde, Eastmond, Wade and Twelvetrees also on score sheet
England 40 Barbarians 12
A masterful performance from Freddie Burns led five-try England to a comfortable 40-12 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium.
Clinical with the boot and controlled with ball in hand on his first senior start, the Gloucester Rugby No.10 scored a try after 46 seconds before slotting three penalties and three conversions for 20 points as England dominated.
Marland Yarde, replacement Kyle Eastmond, Christian Wade and Billy Twelvetrees scored the other tries as England established at 40-0 lead, before late consolation scores for the Barbarians from Schalk Brits and Elliot Daly.
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With Stuart Lancaster and his 32-man squad departing for the three-game, two-Test South America tour on Tuesday, there was much to please the England Head Coach.
In addition to Burns’ composure, debutant No.7 Matt Kvesic was everywhere and props Alex Corbisiero and Dave Wilson had their experienced opponents Andrea Lo Cicero and James Johnson in regular trouble at scrum-time.
Burns scored the opening try from England’s first attack after Kvesic disrupted Barbarians captain Mike Tindall at the breakdown and won a superb turnover.
The ball was back in Burns’ hands 30 seconds after he had kicked-off and he flicked a cut-out pass to Yarde, who powered past two defenders and offloaded for the fly half to gleefully dive over.
Burns kicked the conversion with ease to make it 7-0 within a minute and added three penalties by the 25 minute mark as the visiting invitational side clocked up a worrying error count. Italy flanker Alessandro Zanni was pinged for not releasing, Scotland lock was Jim Hamilton penalised for not rolling away and Samoa tighthead James Johnston was whistled for folding at a scrum – all punished by the No.10’s reliable boot.
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England were having some fun in the sun – Corbisiero even trying to step past visiting No.10 James Hook in midfield – but the Barbarians came into game towards the end of the first half. Led by the pace and footwork of New Zealander Casey Laulala, Dai Young's charges visited England’s 22 on three occasions, but the home defence was organised and committed.
Into the second half and Yarde took just three minutes to demonstrate the pace and power which has seen the former England U20 wing fast-tracked in the senior side. Coming on a loop off his left wing, the 21 year-old bumped off the attempted tackle of Laulala on half way and accelerated clear of the covering defence to score in the right hand corner. Burns slotted the most difficult of five successive kicks to make it 23-0 after 44.
England were threatening to cut loose, with big prop Wilson getting the crowd on its feed with a rampaging 50-metre charge straight down the middle of the field, only to lose the ball forward attempting an ambitious off-load.
As expected there was a raft of England changes in the second half, with prop Henry Thomas, lock Kearnan Myall, No.8 Billy Vunipola, scrum half Haydn Thomas and full back Kyle Eastmond all making first senior appearances. Rugby league convert Eastmond made an impression with his first touch on 55 minutes, scooting between four defenders after lovely hands from centre Jonathan Joseph set the Bath Rugby man clear.
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Burns missed his easiest kick of the game but it wasn’t long before England were over the line again, and there was an inevitability about the scorer. Aviva Premiership leading try scorer Wade was busy and efficient throughout and showed all his finishing ability to cap an England move which started with Billy Twelvetrees breaking the line deep in his own 22.
And soon Twelvetrees added the try that his robustness in defence and running lines in attack deserved. Haydn Thomas went close and when the ball was recycled the Gloucester Rugby No.12 twisted and turned his way over the line. Eastmond screwed the conversion horribly wide.
It was all England, but the Barbarians scored two tries in the final 10 minutes. Replacement Schalk Brits executed a neat pick and go after a ruck near England’s line to get the visitors on the board and then Elliot Daly scored a fabulous try. Perhaps feeling he had a point to prove to watching Lancaster, the London Wasps youngster ran an intelligent line and showed searing pace to skin Twelvetrees and Yarde to score.
Replacement Nick Evans converted to complete the scoring on a comfortable afternoon for England, with lock Joe Launchbury named man of the match for another relentless performance.
England vs Barbarians teams
England: Mike Brown; Christian Wade, Jonathan Joseph, Billy Twelvetrees, Marland Yarde; Freddie Burns, Richard Wigglesworth; Ben Morgan, Matt Kvesic, Tom Johnson; Dave Attwood, Joe Launchbury; David Wilson, Rob Webber (Capt), Alex Corbisiero
Replacements: David Paice, Joe Marler, Henry Thomas, Kearnan Myall, Billy Vunipola, Haydn Thomas, Jonny May, Kyle Eastmond
Barbarians: Elliot Daly (London Wasps); Timoci Nagusa (Montpellier, Fiji), Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz, United States), Casey Laulala (Munster, New Zealand), Mike Tindall (Capt, Gloucester, England); James Hook (Perpignan, Wales), Dwayne Peel (Sale, Wales); Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing Metro 92, Italy), Matthew Rees (Scarlets, Wales), James Johnston (Harlequins, Samoa), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester, Scotland), Marco Wentzel (London Wasps, South Africa), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso, Italy), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz, France), Jonathan Poff (London Wasps, New Zealand).
Replacements: Schalk Brits (Saracens, South Africa), Dean Mumm (Exeter, Australia), Duncan Jones (Ospreys, Wales), Sam Jones (London Wasps), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz, France), Nick Evans (Harlequins, New Zealand), Rowan Varty (DeA Tigers, Hong Kong).