England and the Barbarians shared 15 tries in a win for the invitational side at Twickenham on Sunday.
Twenty-four hours after national HQ hosted the Aviva Premiership Final, a crowd of 58,166 witnessed a Quilter Cup try fest, with the Baa-baas coming through to a 63-45 victory.
Leicester’s Jonny May and Ben Youngs started in the England backline alongside George Ford, named as co-captain with Chris Robshaw, while club colleagues Ellis Genge and the uncapped George McGuigan were among the replacements. Tatafu Polota-Nau made it six Tigers in the matchday squads as he made his first-ever appearance for the Baa-baas.
The game was just two minutes old when the Barbarians opened the scoring, kickstarting the try fest.
Toulon wings Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova combined in an 80-metre break before the latter popped ball to Chris Ashton behind the posts for the full-back to score with a trademark dive. Finn Russell’s kick made it 7-0.
Tuisova and Ashton then produced a second score, this time Ashton getting the decisive touch after a chip over the last defender in the corner, Russell added the kick for a 14-point lead before England had mounted any meaningful attack.
Ford denied Ashton a hat-trick inside nine minutes when he caught the Barbarian on the edge of England’s 22 after another break from Tuisova, but No8 Victor Vito provided the third try moments later and Russell’s kick extended the lead to 21 points.
Elliot Daly provided England’s breakthrough, taking a pass from May and staying on his feet to make it to the line. Ford landed his first kick at goal to make it 7-21 on 18 minutes.
Piers Francis quickly added a second following a break the middle by hooker Jack Singleton, and Ford added a second conversion to cut the gap to seven points.
Ashton ran in his third score on 25 minutes as the Barbarians made the most of keeping the ball alive in attack, and Russell converted. But England provided an instant reply from No8 Zach Mercer to make it seven tries in the opening half-hour and Ford maintained his perfect record from the tee as the score reached 21-28.
Smart footwork from Ford, retrieving a kick on the right and jinking around the defensive cover, led to another try for Francis, and the Tigers fly-half levelled the scores with the conversion.
But Russell put the Baa-baas ahead again before half-time after a break from Ashton, and the Scot kicked his fifth conversion to make it 28-35 at the break.
Radradra burst through the England defence for the opening score of the second period, with Russell’s conversion stretching the lead to 28-42
Genge joined the Action on 46 minutes, just before Ford knocked over a penalty from in front of the posts to make it 31-42.
Tigers prop Genge almost made it to the tryline from an attacking lineout and then from a trademark charge, but England retained field position and used the set-piece to build pressure on their guests. This was rewarded with a close-range score from Joe Launchbury and Ford’s kick made it 38-42 with 24 minutes still to play.
Polota-Nau entered the action at the restart and the invitational XV added a seventh try, this time from Sitaleki Timani. Russell added a touchline conversion as they stretched the lead to 11 points at 38-49.
Youngs was replaced on 61 minutes by Dan Robson, and it was half-back partner Ford in the thick of the action as he reacted to Ashton’s kick ahead and the TMO confirmed the Toulon player had knocked-on as he tried to dot down again.
McGuigan got his chance on 71 minutes, replacing Singleton in the front row, but England were penned back on their own line, with replacement Greig Laidlaw scoring their eighth try. The Scot added the kick for good measure to make it 38-56.
There was still time for Cipriani to thread through a kick for May to chase and score on the left, with Ford adding his sixth conversion of an entertaining afternoon, but Vito scored his second of the day in the final attack for the Barbarians and skipper Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe returned to the field to take the successful kick in his last action before retirement as they closed out victory.
15 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 18 caps)
14 Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 34 caps)
13 Henry Trinder (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
12 Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
11 Mike Brown (Harlequins, 69 caps)
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 74 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 56 caps)
2 Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 10 caps)
4 Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
5 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 52 caps)
6 Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, 64 caps)
7 Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 1 cap)
8 Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
16 George McGuigan (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
17 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
18 Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)
19 Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks,uncapped)
20 Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
21 Dan Robson (Wasps, uncapped)
22 Danny Cipriani (Wasps, 14 caps)
23 Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
15 Chris Ashton (Toulon/England)
14 Josua Tuisova (Toulon/Fiji)
13 Semi Radradra (Toulon)
12 Josh Matavesi (Newcastle Falcons/Fiji)
11 Niyi Adeolokun (Connacht/Ireland)
10 Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
9 Rhodri Williams (Bristol/Wales)
1 Denis Buckley (Connacht)
2 Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne/France)
3 John Afoa (Gloucester/New Zealand)
4 Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Ireland)
5 Sateleki Timani (Clermont Auvergne/Australia)
6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon/Argentina)
7 Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)
8 Victor Vito (La Rochelle/New Zealand)
16 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester Tigers/Australia)
17 Loni Uhila (Clermont Auvergne)
18 Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais/Argentina)
19 Joe Tekori (Toulouse/Samoa)
20 Nili Latu (Newcastle Falcons/Tonga)
21 Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne/Scotland)
22 Luke McAlister (Toulon/New Zealand)
23 Malakai Fekitoa (Toulon/New Zealand)