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June 27, 2022

14-man Barbarians humiliate England ahead of Australia tour

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 prop Patrick Schickerling that also ended the Exeter front-row’s match when he failed a head injury assessment.

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.

Not even the appearance of scrum-half Danny Care, making his first England outing in nearly four years when he came on as a third-quarter replacement, could turn the tide.

England were without several first-choice players for what is, by tradition, a non-cap international following Saturday’s Premiership final between Leicester and Saracens

Even so, it was still a lacklustre showing ahead of England’s tour of Australia next month, with coach Eddie Jones due to unveil his squad for the three-Test series against the Wallabies on Monday.

Such was the Barbarians dominance that former England lock George Kruis, in his final match before retirement, kicked three conversions including an outrageous backheel.

Bennett tribute
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.

Marcus Smith kicked England into an early lead before the Barbarians went ahead through an 18th-minute penalty try awarded against Jonny May for a deliberate knock-on.

Barbarians captain Charles Ollivon extended the lead after picking off a loose Harry Randall pass.

The Barbarians were 14-3 ahead but a three-minute spell during which Skelton was sent off offered hope of an England revival, with fly-half Smith kicking a penalty and wing Joe Cokanasiga crossing for a try.

But in a typically ‘open’ Barbarians game, Mark Atkinson’s pass intended for Cokanasiga fell to Penaud and the wing cantered in for an easy try.

Couilloud added to the tally after a lapse in England’s defence before Penaud scored his second try courtesy of an acrobatic finish that was examined by the television match official.

Smith darted over for a try but the Barbarians finished in fine style. Nolann Le Garrec chipped over the defence for Carbonel to touch down.

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