Season review 2017-18: Record breaking victory over England at Twickenham


We’re showcasing each of the seven matches the Barbarians played in 2017-18 over the course of this week. The Baa-baas scored 36 tries in seven games of attacking excitement, full of twists and turns, including the launch of a superstar women’s team, thrillers against New Zealand and Australia, and facing mighty Tonga for the first time. And then there was England...

At Twickenham a host of records were shattered by a brilliant Barbarians team packing as much attacking firepower as you would ever wish to see.

The Baa-baas ran up a 63-45 win in the Quilter Cup match — their biggest ever tally against England — and scored nine tries in the process.

While the side spent just five days together preparing for the game, head coach Pat Lam had a clear plan in place and brought in the most comprehensive back room staff ever used by the club. 

Chris Ashton

Chris Ashton splashed down for a hat-trick against England

He was joined by forwards coach Jonathan Thomas and backs coach Conor McPhillips from Bristol, while video analyst Stuart Powell recorded drone camera footage of each training session for review. Team manager Tim Allnutt was borrowed from Connacht to make such a fast-moving process work smoothly.

The wealth of talent he had available is summed up by the scoresheet. World Cup winner Victor Vito touched down twice and there were further tries from Scotland’s Finn Russell, Australia’s Sitaleki Timani, Scotland's Greig Laidlaw and Fiji's Semi Radradra.

There was a hat-trick inside 25 minutes from Chris Ashton but the man of the match honours went to Radradra, who set the tone with the 70 metre break from inside his own 22 in the second minute for Ashton’s first try.

Fernandez Lobbe

Retiring captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe with Josua Tuisova

“We wanted our time together to be a celebration – of our friendship and of what the Barbarians stands for – but we wanted to make sure we achieved the maximum we could in the time available to take on an international team,” said Lam.

“To do that we needed to get our preparation spot on – having conversations before people came into camp, making sure they were all on the same page. We were blessed to have some wonderful players available to us and these are proud men. 

"They want to enhance their reputations and earn the respect of their teammates, and they showed that in the way they conducted themselves throughout the week, and the way they played for each other in attack and in defence.

Semi Radradra

Fijian centre Semi Radradra starred for the Baa-baas

“It was a unique team – one that will never play again – and the memories of their time together will be lasting ones as a result.”

The pick of the tries came late in the game, with four pieces of individual brilliance setting up a stunning score in the right hand corner from Timani.

Malakai Fekitoa broke through England’s initial defence and offloaded to Tuisova. The wing released the ball out of a tackle to prop Loni Uhila and his diving offload to Timani gave the Australian lock the chance to squeeze over the line.

Earlier another NFL inspired trick play brought Vito’s first strike. The ball was snapped back to Finn Russell, whose chip over the defence was gathered and touched down by the double World Cup winner.

Celebrations at Twickenham

The Barbarians team and management celebrate together at Twickenham

Barbarians: Chris Ashton (Toulon & England); Josua Tuisova (Toulon & Fiji), Semi Radradra (Toulon), Josh Matavesi (Newcastle Falcons & Fiji), Niyi Adeolokun (Connacht & Ireland); Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors & Scotland), Rhodri Williams (Bristol & Wales); Denis Buckley (Connacht), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont & France), John Afoa (Gloucester & New Zealand), Ultan Dillane (Connacht & Ireland), Sitaleki Timani (Clermont & Australia), Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon & Argentina, Captain), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys & Wales), Victor Vito (La Rochelle & New Zealand).

Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester & Australia), Loni Uhila (Clermont), Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais & Argentina), Joe Tekori (Toulouse & Samoa), Nili Latu (Newcastle Falcons & Tonga), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont & Scotland), Luke McAlister (Toulon & New Zealand), Malakai Fekitoa (Toulon & New Zealand).