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England v Barbarians highlights from 2017

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Barbarians finish tour with six-try win against Fiji

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The Barbarians battled to an impressive win over Fiji to round off their superb 2016 tour in style with six tries and a 40-7 victory in Belfast.

In the space of seven days the famous invitation club drew 31-31 with rugby giants South Africa, beat the Czech Republic 71-0 in Prague and then claimed the scalp of the Fijians who were warming up to face England at Twickenham.

The treacherous conditions in Belfast made it hard for both sides to play at their fluent best but the Baa Baas still scored six tries with Lions hooker Akker van der Merwe striking twice and the others coming from Mattt Faddes, Andy Ellis, Richard Mo’unga and Luke Morahan with man of the match Robert du Preez adding five conversions.

Fiji struggled throughout most of a rain-soaked first half before sparking themselves into life after the break with Waisea Nayacalevu touching down and Nemani Nadolo converting.

The Barbarians made a dramatic and coherent start, squeezing Fiji into errors and scoring twice inside the first six minutes.

Van der Merwe got his first when they drove over from a close-range lineout inside the first 120 seconds, then Ben Volavola’s clearance was charged down by Jordan Taufua and the ball regathered for Faddes to strike. Du Preez converted both, the latter with a drop goal from the touchline.

Tommy Bowe on the attack against Fiji

Hooker van der Merwe got his second after 17 minutes, this time after a stampeding run from Taqele Naiyaravoro up the right, and World Cup winner Ellis sniped off the side of a ruck midway through the half for the fourth try.

Another two du Preez conversions put the Barbarians 28-0 up but Fiji came back into an increasingly scrappy game after the interval after replacing fly half Ben Volavola with Nemia Kenatale.

The Islanders got on the board in the 54th minute, turning the ball over 30 metres out and attacking with Akapusi Qera’s carry setting up Nayacalevu to score in the corner.

They had chances after that but the Barbarians cantered home in the final 10 minutes. Replacement fly half Mo’unga getting over from close range and Morahan sliding in to touch down a well-weighted chip through the Fijian defence. Retiring Lions lock Martin Muller was handed the final conversion shot and missed by some distance.

Barbarians: Melani Nanai (Blues); Matt Faddes (Highlanders), Tommy Bowe (Ulster & Ireland), Richard Buckman (Highlanders/Panasonic; Richard Mo’unga (Crusaders) 64), Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs/Panasonic & Australia; Luke Morahan (Force & Australia 62); Robert du Preez (Stormers), Andy Ellis (Crusaders/Kobelco & New Zealand, captain, Ruan Pienaar (Ulster & South Africa) 55; Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes; Toby Smith (Rebels & Australia) 64), Akker van der Merwe (Lions; Andrew Ready (Reds) 63), Ben Franks (London Irish & New Zealand; Paddy Ryan (Waratahs & Australia) 64), Michael Fatialofa (Hurricanes; Martin Muller (Lions) 62), Sam Carter (Brumbies & Australia), Brad Shields (Hurricanes), Jordan Taufua (Crusaders; Ruan Ackermann (Lions) 64), Luke Whitelock (Highlanders & New Zealand).

Scorers: Tries: Van der Merwe 2, Faddes, Ellis, Mo’unga, Morahan. Conversions: Du Preez 5.

Fiji: Benito Masilevu; Waisea Nayacalevu (Metuisela Talebula 55), Asaeli Tikorotuma, Albert Vulivuli, Nemani Nadolo; Ben Volavola, Serupepeli Vularika; Campese Ma’afu, Jale Sassen, Manasa Saulo, Api Ratuniyawara, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Naulia Dawai, Mosese Voka, Akapusi Qera (Captain),  

Replacements: Sunia Koto, Joeli Veitayaki, Leeroy Atalifo, Nemia Soqeta, Eramasi Radrodro, Nemia Kenatale, Vatemo Ravouvou.

Scorers: Try: Nayacalevu. Conversion: Nadolo.