England beat the Barbarians, Saracens lift Premiership trophy

Ben Curry

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?

7 thoughts on “England beat the Barbarians, Saracens lift Premiership trophy

  1. I think Smith is still behind Cips in the pecking order for this RWC as EJ refused permission for Cips to play in this game which seems to indicate that he will be in the wider squad when it is picked. Smith played well though.

  2. Already addressed what I thought of the Baa Baas game in the prev blog on the England 15 to play the, er, Barbs. I didn’t have the patience to wait for this 1. Agree that Bassett & Dombrandt looked tasty. Will either, or others feature in the ‘wider’ squad, especially in the WC warm ups? A def maybe, maybe? Dunno about Smith. A player of the future is he? Would any England fan like to him leading the line @ the bizzo end of the WC? Smith is either a player of the now, or he’s not. Besides he went conservative in the end in which was after all, fundamentally entertainment. If it weren’t, then the BB’s would have been more pragmatic.. in answer to the 2nd ? May have enjoyed the 1st 1/2 of the final if I’d seen it (already explained elsewhere). Gave the 2nd 1/2 6/10. Regds Sarries, now all they need to do is play the winner of S Rugby to claim the World crown. However, that might be too much rugby & they might lose. Season overall? A basement arm wrestle, which was of more sustained interest than the stuff @ the top. Ring fencing will be good only for the Prem 12 or 13. Agree that were also some noted ‘England’ performances in the Baa Baa game. These must be tempered with the fact that there was little @ stake & it was ‘ideal’ rather than real ‘rugby’.

    1. I suspect with Smith knowing EJ was watching he wanted to showcase a bit more of his game management rather than just the flashy stuff. So yeah, for the casual fan it was a bit frustrating to see England opt for points at penalties, but he hasn’t done his stock any harm in terms of his potential future career with England.

    2. You always seem to have been on the vinegar instead of the beer when you talk about Saracens Don. They are a terrific side who play far more rugby that is good to watch than you seem prepared to admit. They had 11 English qualified players in their starting fifteen and a host of former academy players In their squad, as did Exeter. It was a superbly competitive confrontational game of rugby, completely different to the basketball that they seem to play in the Southern hemisphere, and whether they are the best side in the world is completely irrelevant in the aftermath of two superb trophy wins. As an Englishman I thought both this game and the Barbarians suggested that there is a huge amount of talent about and the future is potentially very bright. Just wish we had a manager who trusted players to play what is in front of them. Thought the final swung on Exeter losing White just as Wigglesworth came on to bring control to the Saracens game. Agree with you about ring fencing. Shouldn’t happen.

      1. Regret that you seem irked Andy, seeing the vinegar, not the beer regarding Saracens & feel the need to defend them. That you appear to condone their being investigated only thrice for financial irregularities, getting themselves £1m into debt servicing a morally dubious policy of buying up multiple internationals, particularly of the S African variety over the past decade, as you do their fundamentally R1 rugby brand, is also regrettable. Pity that Sarries don’t add a smidgeon of that ‘basket ball’ S Rugger to their style though. After all, teams picked from it have only won the last x3 WC’s. Despite yr sometimes, somewhat subjective views, I nevertheless take heart from the fact that we @ least agree upon ring fencing. Happy days.

  3. Hands up, I got this one very wrong but still think, if a couple guys make the trg squad on this performance, its a sour taste for those that didn’t get a chance. Dombrandt, Marchant and Alex Mitchell looked at home in the shirt and did themselves no harm.

  4. Dombrant had some good moments getting on the end of two tries and making 1 other and ran some smart lines but would like to have seen more from him in the tackle and at the breakdown

    Marchant was very disruptive to the baabaas attack rushing out of the line and being a nuisance, held up one try and made another.

    The half backs were more impressive with good control of the game Mitchell’s box kicking was strong and Smith kicked well from the tee and out of hand both made good individual contributions too

    I thought Ben Curry was excellent and had a couple of turnovers and drew even more penalties from baabaas who did seem to be able to cope with his jackling

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