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Barbarians watched Phil Bennett videos before eight-try demolition of England

20 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Left, Barbarians’ Damien Penaud (centre) celebrates a try with team-mates. Picture by Mike Egerton. Right, Phil Bennett during the famous Barbarians try.

The Barbarians watched videos of Phil Bennett to inspire them before their eight-try demolition of England at Twickenham, coach Shaun Edwards said.

The Barbarians inflicted the heaviest defeat of England coach Eddie Jones’ tenure despite going down to 14 men at 37 minutes after the Australia lock Will Skelton became the first Barbarian to be sent off for a dangerous tackle to the head of the prop Patrick Schickerling.

Before the match, the Barbarians had paid further tribute to Barbarians, Lions, Scarlets and Wales legend Phil Bennett by forming the shape of a number 10 on the pitch.

Bennett, who died on 12 June age 73, had made one of his most famous contributions in a Barbarian shirt, his dancing feet being a key part of the ‘Greatest Try’ against New Zealand in 1973.

Post-match, former Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards revealed that the win at the home of English rugby had been inspired by Phil Bennett.

“We’ve been watching clips of him all week of him and obviously the famous 1973 try in Cardiff has been played numerous times,” he said.

“I was lucky enough to meet him on numerous occasions in Wales and one thing that always shone out was his humility for such a great player. The biggest respect to his family in this very difficult time.”

‘Not pleased’

A chastened Eddie Jones meanwhile played down the loss, which took place while many of England’s key players were unavailable due to the Premiership final.

“We approached the game in a particular strategic way. We wanted to try to play a bit differently, extend ourselves and give the young guys an opportunity show their ability, particularly with the ball,” he said.

“But we were beaten pretty badly at the breakdown, so it’s a good reminder of how much work we have to do before Australia. From that point of view I’m really pleased with what we did.

“I’m not pleased with how we performed. I’m pleased with the intent of what we tried to do and it’s great preparation for Australia. But obviously not happy with the result.

“No one is happy about the result but, again, we look at it in the light of what we’re trying to do.

“There’s a contextual situation here. I know you’re struggling to understand it, but we’re trying to build a new team, play a different way, a style that suits that players and there are going to be some ups and downs.

“I don’t know, if we would have played a normal England game, what the score would have been but that’s not what we wanted out of the game.

“Now we wanted to win the game against the Barbarians, don’t get me wrong, but this was preparation for Australia so we tried to play differently and extend the players. In some places we didn’t cope well with it.”

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