ENGLAND (57) vs BARBARIANS (26)
ENGLAND suffered an injury scare ahead of the upcoming tour of South Africa yesterday, after captain Phil Dowson was withdrawn during an otherwise entertaining rout of Barbarians.
Chris Ashton grabbed a hat-trick in England’s 57-26 win, yet there were concerns over Dowson after he took a worrying knock to the head towards the end of the match.
Coach Stuart Lancaster later reassured fans, saying that Dowson was “up and walking around in the changing room”.
“We have some time before the first Test [in South Africa] but at the moment he is looking okay,” Lancaster added.
England’s rugby union boss added that he is “pretty confident” that Manu Tuilagi will avoid punishment for an illegal tackle in Leicester’s Premiership final defeat to Harlequins the previous day, and be free to join the England squad for the start of the tour.
Yesterday England were without Tuilagi and 17 other players who had been involved in the Premiership final.
Nonetheless, Owen Farrell soon kicked England into an early lead, before Ashton secured the first try of the game.
Barbarians then caused a temporary scare when Mils Muliaina ran onto a chipped ball from Iain Balshaw. Muliaina’s fellow Kiwi Stephen Donald scored the conversion but England fought back with tries from Dylan Hartley and a second for Ashton.
Shortly into the second half Ashton grabbed his hat-trick after sneaking onto the end of another of Farrell’s kicks.
Muliaina kept fighting and was rewarded with a second try, but tries from Christian Wade, Richard Wigglesworth, and Jonathan Joseph sealed the win.