Sport Rugby

Saturday 16 December 2017

Banahan cited as England kick way to 'ugly' victory

Matt Banahan has been cited for an alleged dangerous tackle on Australian Barbarians centre Berrick Barnes during yesterday's insipid victory in Gosford.

England have now had a player cited after all three of their matches on the tour of Australia and although Banahan is unlikely to be involved in this weekend's second Test, it's yet another blow for Martin Johnson.

The under-fire coach put a brave face on another flawed performance as two penalties from Charlie Hodgson and three from Olly Barkley were eventually enough to secure victory.

England had started well, but lost their way and were forced to use attack coach Brian Smith as a water-carrier to pass on tactical instructions after the Barbarians edged into a 9-6 lead.

Australia's second-string ended up with two hookers in the front row and England's scrum milked their good fortune as Barkley's boot sealed the win.

"It was a pretty ugly contest. The sooner we move on, the better," said Australia's head coach Robbie Deans.

But after last Tuesday's 28-28 draw with the Barbarians and the 27-17 first Test defeat to the Wallabies, Johnson welcomed the victory as a boost to the tour.

"At times we played well. We have won in Australia. Our second-string have played their second-string twice and we have got a draw and a win," said Johnson.

"You can't substitute winning; you can't fake it. That is what we are here to try and do. Am I saying it was fantastic? No.

"There are some things we can do better, but we were three points down away from home in difficult conditions and we won by six. Ultimately it was a good performance.

"In games like that you have to find a way to win. We found a way to win. It was a huge effort and credit to the guys who played."

Australian Barbarians -- P Hynes; N Cummins, W Chambers (B Barnes 13), A Faingaa, L Turner; K Beale, J Valentine; P Cowan, T Polota-Nau (H Edmonds 44), L Weeks (J Slipper 51); M Chapman, R Simmons (M Chisholm 45); B McCalman, P McCutcheon (M Hodgson 51), Hoiles (capt).

England -- D Armitage; D Strettle, D Waldouck (M Tait 28), O Barkley, M Banahan; C Hodgson (S Geraghty 64,) R Wigglesworth (P Hodgson 55); J Golding (D Flatman 55), L Mears (R Webber 63), P Doran-Jones; D Atwood, D Ward-Smith; J Worsley (capt), S Armitage, J Haskell (P Dowson 51)

Ref -- Steve Walsh (New Zealand).

Irish Independent

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