Robbie Deans feels England’s players could have benefited from playing for the Barbarians against New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
There were no players from the northern hemisphere in the squad for the match against the All Blacks, who rallied from 17-10 down at half-time to run out 31-22 winners.
England will host the world champions at the same venue in November 2018 and could face Steve Hansen’s powerhouse team in the knockout stages of the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
With that in mind, former Australia coach Deans feels some of Eddie Jones’ players should have committed to appearing for the invitational side during a break in the Premiership season.
“It’s a great shame for those England players and it was a great opportunity for them to experience the level,” Deans told a news conference after the match.
“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, 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 that.
“A player is always going to listen to his international coach in that circumstance, but to a man they all wanted to do it.”
We didn’t win but the spirit of #rugby was strong today ?
— Barbarian FC (@Barbarian_FC) November 4, 2017
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