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  • England
    vs Barbarians
    Twickenham Stadium
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England v Barbarians highlights from 2017

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Ireland 21 Barbarians 22


ALEX Cuthbert scored two tries and Zane Kirchner provided a stunning solo effort as the Barbarians recorded their fourth successive win over Ireland on Irish soil.

The Barbarians’ performance was one of real substance, with their traditional attacking flair mixed in with tenacious defending and a ferocious battle at the breakdown.

Craig Gilroy, Chris Henry and Paddy Jackson all struck for Ireland from close range but their final try came too late for them to overhaul the famous invitation side.

Former Ireland flanker Shane Jennings led a side with 466 caps in its starting line-up against many of his Leinster teammates.

And the Barbarians got off to a fluent start with Wales wing Cuthbert - lively throughout the first half - going over in the corner after David Smith had switched sides and drawn in two defenders.

Toulon wing Smith was a threat throughout in the invitation side’s best early attacks but they had to soak up lots of pressure in the opening quarter.

One long spell - of lineouts and close-range scrums - ended when Gilroy cut his way through after 16 minutes with Ian Madigan converting.

But neither side could get over the line after that before the break with the Barbarians relying on some important turnovers and solid defending against Ireland’s driving mauls.

Both sides lost men to the sin bin before the break, Ireland’s Jack McGrath and the Barbarians Roberto Tejerizo both yellow carded by referee Greg Garner.

Kirchner, though, seized the initiative immediately after the interval with a superb strike, cutting in from the right and chipping over Dave Kearney to score with Gopperth converting.

The try came during a breathless spell of Barbarians dominance that eventually enabled Gopperth to land a key penalty that stretched the lead to 15-7 after 55 minutes.

Ireland were back in it on the hour mark with a successful driving maul as Ulster’s Chris Henry was driven over and Madigan converted to make it a one-point game.

But the Barbarians were more hard nosed in the spell that followed with Australia flanker George Smith coming off the bench and influential at the breakdown before they drove close to the line and hammered away with giant wing Cuthbert joining in to smash his way over.

Ireland stormed back with Paddy Jackson scoring their third try and the conversion leaving them trailing by a point but only one more play was possible before the Barbarians kicked the ball off to secure the win.

Hooker Deon Fourie picked up the man of the match award for his tireless work in the loose with the likes of Joe Rokocoko - endlessly influential in midfield - not far behind.

Barbarians: Zane Kirchner (Leinster & South Africa); Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues & Wales), Joe Rokocoko (Bayonne & New Zealand), Wynand Olivier (Montpellier & South Africa), David Smith (Toulon); James Gopperth (Leinster), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster & South Africa); Roberto Tejerizo (Tucuman & Argentina), Deon Fourie (Lyon), Adam Jones (Cardiff Blues & Wales), Rodrigo Capo Ortega (Castres & Uruguay), Konstantin Mikautadze (Toulon & Georgia), Shane Jennings (Leinster & Ireland, Captain), Gerhard Vosloo (Toulon), Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Panasonic Wild Knights & Japan).

Replacements: Nathan Hines (Sale Sharks & Scotland) for Ortega 7, Saimone Taumoepeau (Castres & New Zealand) for Vosloo 47-50, for Tejerizo 57, George Smith (Lyon & Australia) for Holani 50, Gio Aplon (Grenoble & South Africa) for Rokocoko 61, David Ward (Harlequins) for Fourie 79.

Scorers: Tries: Cuthbert 2, Kirchner. Conversions: Gopperth 2. Penalty: Gopperth.

Yellow card: Tejerizo 39

Ireland: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster), Colm O'Shea (Clontarf/Leinster), Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster), Craig Gilroy (Dungannon/Ulster); Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster), Robbie Diack (Malone/Ulster), Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) (capt).

Replacements: Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) for Strauss 54, Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) for Reddan 62, Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster) for O’Shea 74, Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster) for Marshall 50, Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) for Furlong 62, Ben Marshall (Old Belvedere/Connacht) for Tuohy 62, Michael Bent (Dublin University/Leinster) for Diack 40,

Scorers: Gilroy, Henry, Jackson. Conversions: Madigan 3.

Yellow card: McGrath 32

Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)