All you need to know ahead of the England v Barbarians match this Sunday
England v Barbarians Quilter Cup Preview
England will face a world-class Barbarians side this Sunday competing for the Quilter Cup. England are the current holders after beating the Barbarians 28-14 last year.
After three losses in a row during the Six Nations, a confidence-boosting win is much needed by England with the World Cup just over a year away.
As a result, head coach Eddie Jones has named a starting XV with a mix of experience and young blood to create some competition for places with the tour of South Africa on the horizon.
Danny Cipriani’s inclusion on the bench is particularly newsworthy, although time will tell if Jones decides to use him at full-back or his traditional fly-half role during the match, while Elliot Daly is given the nod at full-back with Mike Brown moving to the wing.
Jones said: “This is a good young squad and their work ethic has been outstanding over the last two weeks. Their application to learn has been very good but they are very young at Test rugby level so this week’s match against the Barbarians is a fantastic opportunity for them to step up.
“It is a great opportunity for them to show they deserve to wear the English rose, to show they can be in contention for the World Cup and a great opportunity for them to put us on the front foot ahead of the South Africa tour.
“You never know what to expect from the Barbarians team. We know they will be well coached by Pat Lam, we know they have got good individual players and some outstanding individual players, so we need to be up for the unexpected.”
Starting XV (* signifies uncapped players): Elliot Daly; Jonny May, Henry Trinder*, Piers Francis, Mike Brown; George Ford (co-captain), Ben Youngs; Joe Marler, Jack Singleton*, Kyle Sinckler, Elliott Stooke*, Joe Launchbury, Chris Robshaw (co-captain), Tom Curry, Zach Mercer*.
Replacements: George McGuigan*, Ellis Genge, Nick Schonert*, Josh Beaumont*, Mark Wilson, Dan Robson*, Danny Cipriani, Denny Solomona.
Tickets are still available for the match – click here
The Barbarians will be lead by Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, who will retire from rugby after the match. A legend of Argentina rugby, Fernandez Lobbe will call it quits on an illustrious career, with more than 70 caps for his country and immense success with French giants Toulon.
Another notable storyline involves Chris Ashton, who will return to Twickenham in the Barbarians jersey rather than the white shirt of England. He will be starting at full-back for the Baa-Baas and has been in red-hot form for Toulon.
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Ashton will join several other world-class players in the team on Sunday, but as always with the Barbarians it is about getting them to play cohesively in such a short period of time that is the biggest challenge. Head coach Pat Lam is not concerned, though.
He said: “It’s an exciting challenge to bring together a side in five days but everything we’ve done has been about improving our chances of winning this game.”
“We have very high-quality individuals – and they’ve worked hard and risen to the challenge of coming together as a team, which is what we’ll need to compete with a top class international side.”
Starting XV: Chris Ashton; Josua Tuisova, Semi Radradra, Josh Matavesi, Niyi Adeolokun; Finn Russell, Rhodri Williams; Denis Buckley, Benjamin Kayser, John Afoa, Ultan Dillane, Sateleki Timani, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), Justin Tipuric, Victor Vito.
Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Loni Uhila, Ramiro Herrera, Joe Tekori, Nili Latu, Greig Laidlaw, Luke McAlister, Malakai Fekitoa.
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