ENGLAND rounded off a challenging week by overwhelming the Barbarians 73-12 at Twickenham in a record ten-try rout orchestrated by Danny Cipriani.
Two days after hooker Dylan Hartley was removed from Stuart Lancaster’s World Cup plans for his head-butt on club duty for Northampton, an experimental XV put poor opposition to the sword.
The half-time score alone read a remarkable 45-5 after Christian Wade crossed twice while Marland Yarde, Ed Slater, Jack Clifford and man of the match Cipriani also touched down.
Wade missed out on his hat-trick early in the second half when he inexplicably failed to ground the ball properly having done all the hard work, but he duly produced his third as the final whistle approached.
With Henry Slade, Josh Beaumont and Cipriani claiming further tries there was no respite for the disintegrating Barbarians, whose feeble effort turned the afternoon into little more than an opposed training session.
Outstanding stand-off Cipriani was among many to impress in a high-quality England performance, adding to his two tries with one penalty and all ten conversions in a flawless afternoon that amounted to an individual 33-point haul.
The Barbarians scored tries in each half through Brad Thorn and Thomas Waldrom, but they were victims of a turkey shoot in the latest instalment of this annual fixture.
The only disappointment was the small 34,667 crowd that watched England run riot in the first of four outings before their World Cup opener against Fiji at Twickenham on 18 September.
The Barbarians’ promising opening was interrupted by an 11th-minute try for England created by Slade’s flat pass to hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie.
Cowan-Dickie’s hopes of forcing his way into Lancaster’s World Cup thinking improved as he cleverly drew his man before supplying Yarde with the scoring pass.
A brilliant line from Waldrom swept the Barbarians within inches of the whitewash, with Thorn arriving to crash over as the lively start continued.
Waldrom, however, was then sin-binned for tackling Lee Dickson without the ball and England took advantage when Slater drove over from the line-out.
Slater combined wonderfully with second-row partner Joe Launchbury as the prelude to England’s next score with Elliot Daly creating the space for Clifford to stroll over.
England’s dominance continued as the half-hour mark passed, Yarde grubbering through for Wade to collect and cross.
Cipriani pulled the strings as the wings combined once more, Yarde collecting his stand-off’s delayed pass before feeding Wade, who wrong-footed two defenders before darting over.
The onslaught continued and this time it was Cipriani who scored on the stroke of half-time after a turnover close to the whitewash turned into a fresh attack with Wade doing the damage.
Just two minutes after half-time, England were over again, the Exeter combination of Cowan-Dickie and Slade helping the latter to a try amid a disintegrating Barbarians defence.
Finally some resistance was offered by the invitational side, Waldrom spinning across the whitewash after Ugo Monye – playing his final professional match – had almost reached his target.
Wade missed out on his hat-trick when he failed to ground the ball properly, but the eighth try was delivered in the 60th minute when a magical pass through the legs by Shane Geraghty released Beaumont.
Thorn’s afternoon was over when he was sin-binned for a spear tackle and the Barbarians’ agony was over when Wade posted his hat-trick before Cipriani glided across the whitewash.