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Despite England suffering their heaviest defeat under his reign, head coach Eddie Jones said he was “pleased with the intent” shown by his side during their clash against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.
The Baa-baas played with 14 men for most of the match after Will Skelton became the first man in Barbarians history to receive a red card – for a dangerous challenge on Patrick Schickerling in the 38th minute – but with several French internationals in their side, the famous invitational team cruised to a 52-21 victory.
“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.”
England’s squad for the Australian trip will be announced on Monday morning but there are doubts over back-row Alex Dombrandt, who withdrew ahead of the Barbarians clash due to a knee injury.
Jones revealed that Dombrandt would see a specialist before a decision is made and with Billy Vunipola (concussion) and Sam Simmonds (hip) also sidelined, a crisis is developing at number eight.
According to Jones, Jonny May, Joe Cokanasiga and Jonny Hill played their way into the touring party after returning to action following injury absences, while Jack Walker and Tommy Freeman could also be surprise selections.
“We’ve still got one or two spots we need to look at and we have a number of injury concerns that will need all the best medical advice to sort out and see who is available and who isn’t,” said Jones.
Former England lock George Kruis was one of the Baa-baas’ stars as he slotted three conversions, one of them a impudent backheel.
Jones had no qualms with Kruis taking the kicks as it was his last match before retirement.
“It’s about the spirit of rugby and it’s great for the spirit of rugby. George Kruis is a guy who didn’t carry the ball much and he’s had a great farewell. So fantastic, I love it,” Jones said.
The Barbarians players formed the number 10 before the match in tribute to legendary Wales and British & Irish Lions fly-half Phil Bennett, who passed away a week ago.
“We’ve been watching clips of him all week of him and obviously the famous 1973 try in Cardiff has been played numerous times,” assistant coach Shaun Edwards said of Bennett, who also represented the Barbarians in 20 matches.
“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.”
The article England: Eddie Jones ‘pleased with intent’ despite big loss against Barbarians appeared first on Planetrugby.com.