Anyone else thoroughly enjoy that match, even though we lost?
Going 33-5 down was off-setted slightly by the brilliance of the Barbarians back play, but there were some sharp positives after coming back into it.
Everytime I see Payne, Deacon and Noon, my belief that these players are just average strengthens. Those are 3 I would lose in a heartbeat.
Looking on to the first test, I would play:
4. Borthwick (C)
Three ultra-versatile backs on the bench (unintentionally)!
Can White do a job at loose-head? Ideally I would have had Flatman 1, White 3, with Wilson on the bench. The presence of White and Thompson will help counter the strong Argie scrum. - credit to Slater582 for pointing out that Wilson can play 1.
I think Borthwick and Kennedy are too similar. I think Borthwick should be playing for his future now, and if he doesn't perform over the next two tests then he should drop out of being an auto-pick when the Lions come back and we should move forward.
I think Armitage looked lively when he came on. Still no spot for Haskell, because I think Robshaw and Easter both had good games.
Hodgson looked sharp when he came on, and with Care's injury I'd have no qualms putting him into the team. Foden covering 9 on the bench (unlucky to miss out on the team).
Goode had a decent game, but what struck me the most was he saw we weren't getting over the gain line, so he changed the game plan. He put a delicate little kick over for Turner-Hall, it worked, so he kept doing it and got us 21 points for it! May covering 10 on the bench.
Turner-Hall had a good game, and I think Hipkiss does everything Noon does well and then offers more, so he came in there for me. It was a tough pick between him and Tait, but I think Hipkiss has had a better season.
It was hard to leave a winger out, but Cueto is a great player and I think he should come back into the team. I can see the Goode/Banahan try coming off against most teams, so I would stick with Banahan (who is an absolute battering ram when he gets up to full pace). Armitage pretty much picks himself!
So that's my team and reasons why. Again, a great, thoroughly enjoyable game of rugby in my opinion!