England missed a chance to test strength against New Zealand - Barbarians coach

Barbarians coach Robbie Deans felt England stars missed a trick by missing out facing New Zealand
Barbarians coach Robbie Deans felt England stars missed a trick by missing out facing New Zealand
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Barbarians head coach Robbie Deans believe England missed a great opportunity of testing themselves against the All Blacks by not allowing their players to represent the invitational team in the recently concluded encounter against New Zealand at Twickenham.

Saturday's clash saw Barbarians claim a 17-5 lead before the All Blacks fought back hard to register a 22-31 win. James Haskell, Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph and Kyle Sinckler are reported to have been approached by the Barbarians for the encounter but could not join the squad due to different reasons.

England are scheduled to face New Zealand only in the 2018 autumn international series but Deans believes facing the All Blacks could have given them a valuable exposure against the back to back World Champions.

"It's a great shame for those England players and it was a great opportunity for them to experience the level," said Deans.

"So it's been an opportunity missed because some of those 23 could have had a taste of this.

"They were all pretty much positive early on, but when it comes down to it they get into the season, injuries pick up and internationals loom, things can change.

"The initial positivity was replaced by a little resistance. The players felt a little bit of pressure that they might compromise themselves if they stepped into this.

"A player is always going to listen to his international coach in this circumstance, but to a man they all wanted to play."

 

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