England power past Barbarians at HQ
May 26, 2013
Freddie Burns surges towards the line for England's opening try
© Getty Images
England warmed up for their tour of Argentina with a thumping 40-12 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.
Fly-half Freddie Burns scored 20 points, including a first-minute try, and there were also touchdowns for Marland Yarde, Kyle Eastmond, Christian Wade and Billy Twelvetrees as the Baa-baas offered only token resistance.
The Barbarians, who now head to Hong Kong for an appointment with the British & Irish Lions next Saturday, notched late tries through replacement hooker Schalk Brits and fullback Elliot Daly but they were outplayed throughout the contest.
England, meanwhile, are braced for Test matches against Argentina in Salta and Buenos Aires, and head coach Stuart Lancaster will feel satisfied with his players' work, despite relatively weak opposition.
The groundwork was done up front, where prop Dave Wilson, lock Joe Launchbury and number eight Ben Morgan delivered performances of considerable stature.
And that meant an exciting England back division, well marshalled by Burns and full-back Mike Brown, had opportunities to showcase some of the talent that could serve England well at World Cup 2015 on home soil.
The only disappointment for Lancaster and his coaching staff will be the two tries England conceded, but it was otherwise a comfortable 80 minutes that also looks to have passed injury-free.
England made a blistering start in glorious conditions, scoring from their first attack inside 45 seconds after Barbarians skipper Mike Tindall conceded turnover ball.
Possession was then moved wide quickly to Yarde, who broke a couple of weak tackles and delivered an inside pass that Burns collected for an all-too-easy opening try.
Burns converted and then kicked two penalties for a 13-0 lead after 12 minutes as the Baa-baas compounded their lack of attacking fluency by making some poor decisions.
And the invitational team also encountered considerable problems in the scrums, where England's front row of Alex Corbisiero, Rob Webber and Wilson made hay in the sunshine and meant their opponents had no platform to play off.
Burns completed his penalty hat-trick in the 25th minute, and although their opponents showed glimpses of attacking potential through centre Casey Laulala's silky running skills, England trooped off 16 points clear at half-time and in complete control.
And they extended that advantage within five minutes of the restart when Yarde surged past Laulala just inside the Barbarians' half and then turned on the after-burners to claim a superb solo try.
Burns again converted, and with a 23-point lead Lancaster began ringing the changes, sending on Haydn Thomas, Henry Thomas, Kearnan Myall and Billy Vunipola, but it was a fifth substitute - Eastmond - who posted England's third touchdown.
With gaps opening up all over the pitch, England looked to keep pace and width on the ball, and Wasps flyer Wade capped a memorable week for him by leaving his opposite number Takudzwa Ngwenya floundering.
The newly-crowned Rugby Players' Association players' player of the year and young player of the year did not disappoint his many admirers in the crowd by delivering a try they demanded.
Twelvetrees followed him over the Barbarians' line as England hit 40 points without being seriously tested.
England's Marland Yarde races away to score a try in his first England appearance © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring