Chris Ashton took the limelight in England’s 57-26 defeat over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday 27 May, 2012, as he notched a hat-trick of tries.
This warm-up for the tour in South Africa featured a total of eight tries – however Stuart Lancaster and his team will hope to do better than their four conceded tries when they head to South Africa.
While Ashton was the joint-lead try-scorer during the last World Cup, he had failed to help notch any points in his previous six Test matches – however that all changed on Sunday at Twickenham as he made a menace of himself to touchdown twice before half time and again after the break.
It doesn’t count as an international cap, of course, but it serves as a timely reminder of his worth to the team as well as a needed confidence boost ahead of the Test series versus the Springboks.
There are still issues that need to be sorted before they face the Springboks, certainly the debate of who should start as fly-half seemed palpable – and according to the fans, a lot of positions and tactics across the board need to be ironed out before the can mount any forceful attack at the Test series.
There were some key figures missing for Lancaster’s choice, as the Harlequins and Leicester teams were busy recovering from their Aviva Premiership Final appearance the day before (on Saturday 26 May).