A dangerous tackle sees the Australia lock become first Baa-Baas player to be red-carded
Will Skelton sent off but Barbarians beat England XV 52-21
The Australia lock saw red in the 37th minute for an incident involving England’s Patrick Schickerling. The tighthead had been used as a replacement for Will Collier less than half an hour into the match and was caught with a shoulder to the head a few minutes later.
The incident occurred in the lead-up to England’s first try and was brought to the attention of the referee by the TMO after Joe Cokanasiga had touched down.
Schickerling had knocked the ball on around England’s 22 when Skelton came in to tackle him and made direct contact with the prop’s head. The officials ruled that the second-row had time to adjust and hadn’t wrapped his arms, not to mention the fact that Schickerling wasn’t in possession of the ball.
Skelton was shown a red card and Schickerling went for a head injury assessment and didn’t return in the second half.
Despite their numerical disadvantage in the closing minutes of the opening period, the Baa-Baas scored a try before the break as Damian Penaud picked off a Mark Atkinson pass and crossed in the corner.
That gave the invitational side a 19-11 half-time lead thanks to an earlier penalty try (Jonny May was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on as Max Spring attempted to pass to Penaud and with no defenders left a penalty try was awarded) and another intercept score, this time from captain Charles Ollivon, who sprinted over from close to his own 22.
England’s first-half points came from two Marcus Smith penalties and Cokanasiga’s try, which was created by Smith and Tommy Freeman.
The Baa-Baas scored a fourth try soon after the break, Baptiste Couilloud going over under the posts, and former England lock George Kruis – playing his last ever game of professional rugby – kicked the conversion.
England were quick to hit back when Smith floated a pass to May, who scored in the corner.
Baa-Baas were over again before the hour mark when Penaud scored his second. From certain angles it looked like his foot was in touch before he grounded the ball but the TMO awarded the try.
Smith then scored a try at the other end after an initial bust by Tom Curry to make it 31-21 to the Baa-Baas going into the final quarter.
A succession of penalties allowed the Baa-Baas to set up camp close to England’s line and after a number of lineouts, Nolann Le Garrec chipped over the defence and Louis Carbonel collected the ball to score their sixth try.
Jonny Hill got close to scoring another try for England but knocked on over the line. Then the Baa-Baas launched a counter-attack from their own half with Sekou Macalou bursting clear. The back-row passed inside to Le Garrec, whose kick was collected by Max Spring to score at the posts.
Kruis again stepped up to take the conversion and this time back-heeled it over the bar!
The lock was at the tee again soon after after Antoine Hastoy scored a try. This time the Baa-Baas players set up a tunnel, raised their hands to clap and he bisected the posts again.
That wrapped up the scoring, with the Barbarians convincing 52-21 winners despite playing with 14 men for more than 40 minutes.
There was also a poignant moment before kick-off when the Baa-Baas players formed the figure ‘10’ in tribute to the late Phil Bennett while the crowd applauded the former Wales and Lions fly-half.
For England, there were worrying signs defensively ahead of the three-Test tour to Australia. Obviously, there are some big names to come into the squad, which is named tomorrow, but the second-half performance in particular will be of a concern for the coaches before heading Down Under.
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.