The Barbarians and Wallabies Put on a Show for the Connoisseurs
The Barbarians played Australia at the weekend and it was one of those Rugby matches that only a Baa Baas fixture can be.
This was an amazing display of open, attacking, running rugby, that was a true celebration of the game.
The Barbarians started from the off with some innovations rarely seen in the game. An early line out saw Auckland Blues Hooker, James Parsons, throw the ball, not just over the line, but three quarters of the way across the pitch, for opposite winger Nick Cummins to run onto. Unfortunately the Honey Badger could not hold on and knocked the ball forward, otherwise it could have resulted in a spectacular try.
Shortly after this, the Barbarians kicked deep into Wallabies territory. A line out was the result and the Baa Baas opted to put 11 men in the line. Again winger Nick Cummins was involved, both in the line out and ensuing maul. This in turn gave way to a five metre penalty for the Baa Baas, not only did they opt for an old fashioned tap, but the ball was launched over head and over the Wallabies line for the backs to run onto.
The BBC produced this glowing match report
Australia started their European tour with an enthralling 40-36 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham in new coach Michael Cheika’s first game in charge.
The invitational Barbarians, coached by All Blacks great John Kirwan, produced a late rally but Australia held on.
“Our defence stood strong at the end,” said Wallabies captain Matt Hodgson.
“It is a big step forward for us – we’re on a five-week tour and needed to start with good momentum.”
Cheika took over from Ewen McKenzie following defeat by New Zealand in the Rugby Championship last month.
They face Tests against Wales, France, Ireland and England in November.
The Wallabies had Will Genia and Quade Cooper back in half-back tandem for the first time in a year, but couldn’t control a wide-open game that swung back and forth.
Sam Carter, Benn Robinson, Tevita Kuridrani, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley and Sean McMahon ran in six tries – five converted – to put Australia 40-22 ahead with just six minutes to go.
But late tries from Nick Cummins and replacement Marnitz Boshoff – both converted by Boshoff – ensured a thrilling finish.
Frank Halai, Adam Thomson, and Francis Saili had earlier crossed for the Barbarians, with Colin Slade adding a 45-metre penalty.
Australia coach Michael Cheika told BBC Sport:
“In attack and defence we had some good moments and some poor moments, which is exactly what I imagined would happen. All in all it wasn’t a bad hit out for us.
“After half-time we kicked on and got away from them. Then I think maybe [there was] a bit of fatigue – we’ve had big training week, and the travel and everything probably kicked in.
“When we did good things in the new shape that we are playing we looked relatively good. We’ve just got to keep doing that. We need to be a bit sharper to the ball in the attacking ruck so we can get some quicker ball.
“It has been a bit of the unknown. I’ve never been here before at this level, so I’ll learn along the way as well.”
Barbarians captain Alastair Kellock told Sky Sports:
“It was an incredible game to finish like that – we were so close.
“We showed we were willing to give it all and left absolutely everything on that park.
“It was a really enjoyable game to play in – a hard, hard game of international rugby. I’m really proud to pull this jersey on.
“We blended well considering we got thrown together on Monday not knowing each other.”
Barbarians: Nanai-Williams, Halai, de Jongh, Saili, Cummins, Slade, Cubelli, Stevens, Parsons, Ta’avao, Bird, Kellock, Thomson, Todd, Luatua,
Replacements: Schwalger (Parson, 50), du Toit (Stevens, 50), Adriaanse (Ta’avao 51), Brussow (Thomson 52), Alemanno, Pretorius (Cubelli 58), Tuculet (de Jongh 59), Boshoff (Slade 69).
Australia: Folau, Speight, Kuridrani, Toomua, Horne, Cooper, Genia, Robinson, Faingaa, Alexander, Carter, Horwill, Higginbotham, Hodgson, McCalman,
Replacements: Hanson (Faingaa 55), Slipper (Robinson 54), Kepu (Alexander 60), Skelton (Carter 58), McMahon (Higginbotham 21), White, Foley (Cooper 55), Lealifano (Toomua 65).
This was an incredible game of Rugby and both sides were still trying to score a try in the 84th minute, until Toutai Kefu spoiled the party by kicking the ball into touch and ended a glorious afternoon.
The Baa Baas captain Alastair Kellock spoke very well in his post match interview and obviously enjoyed every minute of the match.
This is the reason that Rugby is the game that they play in heaven.
By Max Power
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