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International Rugby - England v Barbarians: Preview

Always one of the most anticipated fixtures on the international calendar, England against the Barbarians often throws up excitement and the same is expected on Sunday.

The Red Rose are currently preparing for their summer tour of Australia and Eddie Jones is using this non-cap international as a chance to experiment, with his Leicester and Saracens contingent absent due to the two sides clashing in Saturday's Premiership final.

In their way stands a star-studded Baa-Baas side captained by Frenchman Charles Ollivon and also featuring former England and Lions lock George Kruis, who will be playing the final match of his career.

What: England v Barbarians
Where: Twickenham, London
When: 15:00, Sunday 19th June 2022
How to watch: Amazon Prime
Odds: England 2/5, Draw 22/1, Barbarians 21/10

Jones building for 2023

The upcoming tour of his homeland is one of Jones' final chances to tinker ahead of next year's World Cup, a tournament his team are 5/1 to win. After searching for a formula since losing to South Africa in the final of the global showpiece in 2019, the 62-year-old needs to decide how he wants to play.

While bereft of some of his biggest names, the coach is clearly thinking that he wants his side to return to the hard and fast tactics that worked so well three years ago in Japan.

Bristol's Harry Randall will again partner Harlequins' Marcus Smith at half-back and with Alex Dombrandt at number eight, it feels inevitable that Jones will give the recalled Danny Care some minutes between Dombrandt and Smith in a bid to reproduce the success that their eight-nine-10 combination has brought to Quins.

Randall is as close as you can find to a younger Care but the elder man is the form scrum-half in England and deserved his recall, having last represented his country in 2018.

After previously being viewed as a position of weakness, newcomer Henry Arundell give Jones fantastic options in the 15 shirt, especially if he wants to add pace as an alternative to the aerial brilliance of Freddie Steward heading into next year.

With Joe Cokanasiga and Jonny May either side of him, Freeman has a chance to shine in what looks to be a well-balanced back-three.

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French flavour to Baa-Baas

After winning the Grand Slam, in spite of Ollivon's absence, France are arguably the form international side in world rugby. They will be coached on Sunday by Les Bleus' boss Fabien Galthie and he has named 10 of his countrymen in his starting XV.

In fact, of his run-on side, Kruis is the only player not based in l'Hexagone so there will be an air of familiarity amongst the visitors.

Similar to Jones, the latter stages of the Top 14 means Galthie cannot call on players from Castres, Toulouse, Montpellier and Bordeaux.

However, his side could still be sensational and amongst their number is wing Damien Penaud. The Clermont man scored three tries in the Six Nations and is available at 1/1 to cross the whitewash.

Penaud has crossed twice in both of his previous trips to Twickenham and his mix of brains and brawn makes him arguably the perfect finisher.

Expect the points to flow

It almost goes without saying that the Baa-Baas will throw the ball around and with a number of England's players looking to prove themselves, they too could play with added expression.

Jones has picked a side to run the ball, with the back-row combination of captain Tom Curry, Sam Underhill and Dombrandt built for speed, while the pace of Freeman, Cokanasiga and May in the back three could light up Twickenham.

History shows us that these teams put on the points, with the last two meetings producing a combined 202.

Interestingly, both of those encounters finished with an even number of points, an outcome that is 5/6 to be repeated and after a long season, there is also the opportunity for the match to open up after the break.

England's replacement half-backs of Care, 21/10 anytime try scorer, and Orlando Bailey will both look to move the ball around and 1/1 on the second half being the highest-scoring of the two periods could be worth looking at.

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