England win over Northern Barbarians good for momentum says George Robson


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The Independent Online

England's Test side will hope to take some encouragement from their midweek team after a hard-fought win in their tour match against the Northern Barbarians.

The second string emerged 57-31 winners at Potchefstroom's Profert Olen Park after a bruising encounter in which Nick Abendanon claimed a first-half hat-trick of tries.

Jonny May touched down twice while there were further scores for Ben Morgan and Anthony Allen as well as a late penalty try.

The only sour note was an injury to winger Ugo Monye, who was taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious in a tackle but head coach Stuart Lancaster later eased fears over his condition.

England now travel to Port Elizabeth for the final Test against South Africa hoping to salvage some pride after defeats in the first two matches of the series.

Midweek captain George Robson said: "On the morale and the win, I think it is massive.

"We can take a lot from it and a lot of the younger guys have come through it.

"It is great to get the win. We said we wanted to get the win and help build the momentum going into the last week, finishing the season on a high.

"It is great that as a midweek group we have got the win. Hopefully that will give us a bit of momentum going into Saturday's game."

Lancaster was pleased with the performances of a number of players and felt the overall display was better than in last week's win over the Southern Barbarians in Kimberley.

England were given a test as, after leading 31-10 at half-time, they were pegged back to 31-24 with Jamie Gibson sinbinned.

Lancaster said: "There are lots of positives we can take from the performance, although there were one or two areas where we let it slip, particularly in that third quarter defensively.

"We wanted to improve on the quality of the performance we put in last week.

"I thought there was a better intensity and shape about what we did.

"I thought the boys adapted to the conditions better, and they have been here a week now. It was good for the boys in the stand watching as well."

Monye did not get up after crashing into Barbarians scrum-half Shaun Venter and was carried off after receiving prolonged attention.

The injury looked serious but Lancaster was positive about the 29-year-old.

He said: "Ugo was knocked out during the tackle. He was taken to hospital but he has come round and he is fine, albeit a bit groggy.

"I have only just had medical updates but I think he will be travelling back with us."