A fresh-faced England side produced a surprise result at Twickenham yesterday, defeating a star-studded Barbarians team 51-43.
Of course, it’s folly to read anything into the result of a fixture against the heavy-drinking scratch outfit, but there were some notable performances in white shirts. I asked the question in the build-up as to whether anyone could push for selection in the wider England Rugby World Cup training squad, and I think a few people put their hands up.
Alex Dombrandt was a standout performer for me, whilst I don’t think it would be a huge shock to see Ben Curry, Marcus Smith and Joe Marchant involved in at least the early stages of England’s tournament preparation.
Given that Danny Cipriani looks set to be overlooked yet again, Smith seems to be one injury away from a full international call-up, and on this performance, he’s one for the not-too-distant future anyway.
What did you think of the Barbarians game?
It was a busy weekend at Twickenham, which hosted the Gallagher Premiership Final on Saturday, which was a thrilling encounter that didn’t quite go the way of my prediction.
I expected Saracens to dominate throughout, and whilst they got the win eventually, the Exeter Chiefs were magnificent. They raced into the lead with the fastest-ever try in a Premiership final through Nic White, and were 11 points up going into the final quarter, but just to reinforce their position as the best club side in Europe, Saracens dug deep and came back to win the match.
There were some notable performances from England players, with Jack Nowell in particular impressing for Exeter, Maro Itoje was his usual mixture of brilliance and penalties, whilst Alex Goode further pressed his claims for inclusion in Eddie Jones’ plans.
How did you enjoy the final? And what have you made of the season overall?