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Lydon rues concentration lapses against Barbarians

02 June 2014

  • Lydon says England XV did not meet required intensity
  • Henry Slade reacts to Twickenham defeat
Hosea Gear

Photo: Getty Images

Joe Lydon conceded his England XV did not quite meet the standards they set themselves during Sunday’s 39-29 defeat to the Barbarians, but says a number of players impressed during a high-octane game at Twickenham.

The hosts led 18-14 at half-time thanks to tries from burly Exeter Chiefs No.8 Dave Ewers and Gloucester Rugby wing Charlie Sharples. However, their experienced opponents – numbering over 700 caps between them – took hold in the second period and clinched a win thanks to Hosea Gear’s superb brace.

It was the seventh Barbarians victory in 14 meetings with England – a result coach Dean Ryan had earmarked earlier in the week – and Lydon explained that a slight lack of nous proved costly.

“I don’t think we ever reached the intensity we were looking for aiming for,” he said shortly after the final whistle.

“We talked about getting that level up and keeping it up to make sure they had to work hard for the full 80 minutes. We didn’t quite get there. They had a lot of experience and used that to control the tempo. Our guys will learn from that.

Henry Slade

Photo: Getty Images

“We knew they had some very intelligent players out there and they also upped the tempo when they needed too. When we kicked poorly, they ran back at us. You can’t give those players that sort of opportunity.”

Singling out the half-backs for special praise, the RFU’s Head of International Player Development added that Stuart Lancaster will now have had a chance to see a pool of between 70 and 80 players – something that bodes extremely well for Rugby World Cup 2015.

Fly half Henry Slade, whose 16-point haul included and well-taken try, was vice-captain for the day under skipper Graham Kitchener.

The 21 year-old gave a display that was assured in attack and courageous in defence, admitting afterwards that he enjoyed the occasion.

“On the whole I was pretty pleased and my season has surpassed what I expected at the start. Hopefully I can push on.

“All I can do is work on myself and try to keep performing well. If that’s good enough to get selected [for 2015], then fantastic. If not, there’s always the next one.”