2019 Rugby Trip

A great social visit to see two England teams face the Barbarians at Twickenham

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Five Go To Rugby

(… With apologies to Enid Blyton)

Well… maybe not the “Famous Five” but five intrepid adventurers from our club set off on a Sunday early in June to visit HQ – the home of English rugby at Twickenham stadium.  Bert and Peter chauffeured by Roger Kettle, and Keith in a separate car driven by Mike Sinclair.

An easier and faster journey than usual. So, what had drawn our travellers to this outpost in the west, far from the safer climes of Essex? 

Drink?  No – although there was more than a sufficiency of that. 

Food?  No – although they feasted at Zizzi’s famous hostelry in Twickenham Town.

The camaraderie? Yes – they all shared a love of the game of rugby union.

But most of all – the chance to see two England teams take on the Barbarians in an international match at the game's ancestral home.

English Roses

No, not the type grown by the Royal Horticultural Society and gracing the Chelsea Flower show, nor those shortly to be on display in July at the Hampton Court Flower Show, just down the road in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace.

No these “Red Roses” were the English Women’s team, gracing the turf of Twickenham stadium in front of a crowd of over 19,000 spectators, facing an invitational team of international women players drawn from around the world, and proudly wearing the team strip of the women’s Barbarians.  The Barbarians women began life only in 2017-18 with wins over Munster and the British Army but only played their first international in April 2019.

The Red Roses did us proud.  28-0 leaders at half time, with a try disallowed just before the interval, they came home worth winners with Lark Davies crossing for a hat-trick as they scored six tries in a 40-14 win.

Most impressive of all was the style, skill and professionalism with which they dealt with their opponents.

Great Enthusiasm, Short on Experience

Then, along with 40,000 others, we were ready for the main event – a young England team coached by Jim Mallinder against the world-famous Barbarians.  The  premiership final between Saracens and Exeter the day before ruled out top players as did the potential players in the world cup. It was still a young England team full of enthusiasm, short on experience.

In an entertaining and high scoring game, England won by 51 points to 43. They gained a 19 point at lead before half time but the Barbarians hit back with two quick tries  before England re-established its lead.

The break was a great opportunity to stretch the legs, stock up on liquid refreshments and enjoy the atmosphere, the sights and the sounds before the second half started.  England scored another try shortly after half-time, and despite the Barbarians staging a comeback with four tries, an outstanding display by fly half Marcus Smith nudged England further ahead with a penalty, before this impressive team sealed victory. Marcus Smith was named Man of the Match.

Our famous five had enjoyed a feast of brilliant rugby, two England victories, great food, great drink and great fellowship before winding their weary way home.
By Peter Greene