Baa-Baas too good for Tigers
There was little light relief for Leicester as they went down 59-26 against a Test-class Barbarians side at Welford Road on Tuesday evening.
The Tigers clawed their way back after a horror start but were overwhelmed by six high-quality second-half scores as coach John Kirwan deployed 17 international players from eight countries.
Leicester centre Christian Loamanu scored on his delayed first appearance after a summer move from Treviso, and there were also tries for forgotten England fly-half Freddie Burns and forwards Jamie Gibson and Paul Grant.
The Barbarians shared eight tries in all - two from Stormers centre Juan de Jongh and the rest from prop Thomas du Toit, Francis Saili, Heinrich Brussow, Tom English, Michael Rhodes and Tevita Li. The final try and conversion went to Sharks number eight Jacques Botes, making his final career appearance at the age of 33.
The 87th meeting between the sides since 1909 carried more than a nod to the past, with Leicester wearing letters rather than numbers on their backs and both sides committed to running from deep.
The Barbarians were without fly-half Colin Slade and hooker James Parsons, both called into the touring New Zealand squad this week, following their 40-36 defeat against Australia at Twickenham.
But, despite making nine changes, they duly raced into a 21-0 lead inside 12 minutes with Stormers centre De Jongh, Sharks prop Du Toit and Blues centre Saili all touching down.
Leicester were more direct but Burns - deployed at full-back in this game - got them on the board with a break and dummy under the posts, Gibson galloped over from 20 metres and Loamanu smashed his way over just before the break.
The Barbarians' second-half finishing was in a different class, though. South Africa flanker Brussow powered off the edge of a ruck and uncapped wing English - borrowed for the day from Australia's tour squad - bolted over after incisive breaks from Adam Thomson and Frank Halai.
Rhodes forced his way over after some direct drives and De Jongh got over in the corner before replacement flanker Grant's persistence was rewarded with Leicester's fourth try.
But Blues youngster Tevita Li soon raced in and De Jongh was over the line for a potential hat-trick before handing the ball off to Botes, who touched down and converted his own score from the final play.