By Michael Cantillon at Twickenham
Last Updated: 27/05/18 8:16pm
England head coach Eddie Jones quipped his side’s 63-45 loss to the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday felt more like one-day cricket such was the frequency of point scoring.
Jones’ charges saw nine tries scored by Pat Lam’s free-flowing Baa-Baas and conceded the most points ever by an England side at Twickenham – indeed no previous side had ever conceded in excess of 50 points.
The loss was the biggest England defeat for 20 years as Chris Ashton notched a hat-trick and Argentine flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe signed off his career with a successful conversion.
Jones admits his players couldn’t live with the pace of the Barbarians, and some players failed to meet the required level.
“I felt like we were playing one-day cricket,” Jones said.
“We struggled in the first 20 minutes to adjust to the speed of the game. We were a bit shocked by that.
“But we adjusted well, got ourselves back into the game, played some good rugby. Then when we got fatigue in the last 20 minutes, we made some crucial errors in execution and it ended up costing us the game.
“Some individual guys did well. Some guys didn’t. Some guys struggled to meet the demands of the game.
“That’s a depreciably faster, more athletic game than the guys are used to playing. And some guys struggled with that. Whereas other guys showed after a period of adjustment, they could step up.”
Despite having the likes of Elliot Daly, Mike Brown, Jonny May, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Joe Launchbury, Chris Robshaw, Joe Marler and Kyle Sinckler involved, Jones was quick to highlight the players they were missing.
“We don’t have our top 15 players,” Jones claimed. “We have another 22 players unavailable, so it was a test of our depth.
“We’ve got 15 players to come into the squad tomorrow. Ten are going to be very confident, five will be disappointed and looking for a chance to play some good rugby. We’ve got to look at it in that context.
“We played against a very good, fast, powerful Barbarians team and at times, we struggled to cope with it.
“But as an experience for a lot of the younger players, it was absolutely outstanding. Speaking to a number of them, they struggled to cope with the speed of the game.
“But at the same time, I was impressed with a number of the young players we had. I thought Piers Francis played his best game I’ve seen since Argentina.
“Tom Curry hasn’t played Test rugby for a long time, I thought he came back and did some good things. His timing was a bit off at times.
“I thought young [Jack] Singleton probably played the best game I’ve seen him play since the Barbarians game 12 months ago.
“There are good things for us, but we’re disappointed with the result. Every time we play, we want to win.”
Jones did admit he was concerned with England’s defensive showing after conceding nine tries, and there would be further inquiries before jetting off to South Africa for a three-Test series in June
“I’m not happy about it [nine tries conceded],” he said. “We need to go back and look at that, whether it was system errors or individual errors.
“Certainly early on, they were individual errors. We missed a number of one-on-one tackles.
“We had a great crowd there today, enjoying the sun and the beers and we’re disappointed we didn’t put in a better scoreline.”