A very (mostly) young England XV took on the Barbarians at Twickenham yesterday afternoon.
I confess that when I saw the team line-ups before the kick-off I was a bit worried that we might get a bit of a stuffing.
The Barbarians were more experienced, bigger, heavier and had about the same amount of time together as the England squad (and a lot more than the Lions have had!)
The number of caps opposite the white shirts was impressive and England had 8 uncapped players – plus more on the bench!
For the first 20 minutes my fears looked like they might come to fruition too – the Baa Baas had 88% possession during that time and could easily have scored a couple of times.
But the England defence was impressive (hats off to Paul Gustard) and the kids than started to put it together.
Eddie Jones has some strength in depth – players who aren’t always on the field for their clubs showed that they can handle the atmosphere in an England shirt.
It wasn’t the white hot heat of a full international but they were impressive none the less.
The final score of 28-14 must have pleased Eddie ahead of the trip to play the Pumas – even with a couple of injuries to worry about.
My only complaint was the last try – I know the game was over, but why did Danny Care dive away from the posts rather than instinctively try to make the kick easier for George Ford? Pedantic I know, but points mean prizes and a senior international should know better in my view.
As an aside Ford once again confounded those uninformed critics who say that his defence is suspect.
Still – the future looks bright!