England 45-63 Barbarians: Chris Ashton notches hat-trick as Baa-Baas run riot
By Michael Cantillon at Twickenham
Last Updated: 28/05/18 9:14am
A magnificent Barbarians display, inspired by Chris Ashton, saw the invitational side put nine tries past England in a 63-45 victory at a dazzled Twickenham on Sunday.
There were 15 tries scored in total, with Toulon full-back Ashton notching a 25-minute hat-trick against the country of his birth as the Baa-Baas beat England for the first time since June 2014.
Other Barbarians try scorers included La Rochelle No 8 Victor Vito (twice), Racing 92-bound out-half Finn Russell, Bordeaux-bound centre Semi Radradra, Clermont second row Sitaleki Timani and Scotland's Grieg Laidlaw.
Elliot Daly, Piers Francis (twice), Zach Mercer, Joe Launchbury and Jonny May scored for England but it was another disappointing day for Eddie Jones ahead of their summer tour to South Africa.
The first score came inside three minutes when Radradra broke through the tackles of Chris Robshaw and Henry Trinder inside his own 22 and found Tuisova, who proved far too quick for Mike Brown up the right touchline.
Ashton, who had burst a gut to get up in support, gleefully received the ball from the Fijian in the in-goal area and produced his first Ash-Splash of the day - it wouldn't be the last.
Tuisova and Ashton were continuing to cause havoc from deep, and on seven minutes the Baa-Baas were over again through the Englishman after Tuisova sat down Francis with a powerful carry, passed to Ashton and the full-back skillfully negotiated the ball around Daly with his boot before meeting it again in the in-goal.
Russell's superb conversion from out wide left the score 14-0 after nine minutes.
Superb runs from deep by Connacht wing Niyi Adeolokun and Newcastle Falcons centre Josh Matavesi - plus an outrageously brilliant left hand offload by the centre - set Tuisova in the clear, but though he found Ashton, George Ford was quick enough to deny him a hat-trick score.
After 12 minutes though, the Barbarians were over again courtesy of a training ground move which saw Justin Tipuric flick the ball back between his legs to scrum-half Rhodri Williams. The Dragons nine found Russell and his perfectly weighted chip was prayed upon by Vito, who had the strength to slam over for a scarcely believable 21-0 lead.
England responded on 18 minutes through Daly when the Wasps man - playing at full-back for the first time in England colours - forced his way over after some slack Baa-Baas tackles, with Matavesi and Russell hanging off him.
Eddie Jones' men were over again three minutes later through centre Francis after the uncapped Jack Singleton picked a fabulous line through the middle of the pitch to cut the Baa-Baas wide open. His pass to the Northampton Saint was a little on the early side, but Francis stepped Ashton superbly to dive over.
The Barbarians were next to score in a chaotic opening period, and it was Ashton again as he wrapped up a hat-trick inside 25 minutes. No 8 Vito offloaded inside to Russell, who then did tremendously to offload off the ground to the on-rushing Ashton, who dashed in.
But straight from the kick off, the tries kept coming as England reclaimed the ball and Mercer was on the shoulder of Daly to score his first ever England try.
Francis was over for his second and England's fourth in the 31st minute after some sensational build up play by Ford, weaving in and out of Baa-Baas shirts.
The Barbarians would have the final say of the half, however, as after Ashton sliced up through the middle of the England defence, Russell took the full-back's offload in his stride to sprint away and dive for the line.
Despite leading 21-0, Pat Lam's side had to settle for a 35-28 half-time lead after a quite manic opening period.
The men in black and white were first to score in the second period though, and it was Radradra's turn to get in on the act, receiving the ball off a lineout, evading Robshaw and stepping May fantastically to saunter over.
England bucked the trend after 49 minutes to a chorus of Twickenham boos when co-captains Ford and Robshaw elected to take three points via a penalty as opposed to going for a try.
England second row Launchbury was next to cross the whitewash when he barrelled over from close range, and on TMO review was awarded the score.
On the hour mark, the Barbarians were over for their seventh try through lock Timani, and it was possibly the best score of the day.
Toulon centre Malakai Fekitoa made a superb outside break in midfield, offloaded to Tuisova, who just remained in play and offloaded to replacement prop Loni Uhila, who did exceptionally well to offload from the ground to Timani - the big lock then grounding the ball in the corner.
Ashton thought he had a fourth score in the 68th minute, after a wondrous Tipuric break and offload, but the full-back was denied for the second time in the match by Ford, who forced a knock on in the in-goal area.
With seven minutes remaining, the Barbarians put the result beyond doubt when Radradra and Tuisova caused carnage up the right flank again, nipping past England shirts at will, before Tuisova gifted Laidlaw a try.
May got in on the act for England with three minutes left after a deft Danny Cipriani kick up the touchline but the rip-roaring Baa-Baas would have the final say and Tuisova was again the instigator as his rapid break saw the ball fall for Vito, who had only to flop over the line.
Retiring Barbarians skipper Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe returned to the pitch to take the conversion with the clock in the red and he dispatched the ball with the final kick of his professional career, before being lifted upon joyous Barbarian shoulders.