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Australia defeated the Barbarians 40-36 in a slam bang, eleven-try nail biter that kept the Twickenham crowd cheering long after the final whistle. This match began the Wallabies five-week European test match tour, and a narrow win over this all-star XV should prove a confidence booster.
It was classic Barbarian play, featuring free-flowing passes, and never-say-die spirit. The team, which had only assembled the Monday before, demonstrated why it is so much fun to watch. As a non-capped fixture, it always produces action for the full eighty-minutes,
The Baa-Baas were ahead for most of the first half but the Wallabies led 14-12 at the break. In the second half, a handful of brilliant Australian tries forged a 40-22 lead with six-minutes left. It seemed game over but then two tries under the posts narrowed the score to 40-36. The Australians held on desperately to stop a final, game ending surge from the underdogs.
The marked the first game (and first win) for new Wallabies coach Michael Chika, called in after the team lost narrowly to New Zealand in the last test match. Sir John Kirwan, former All-Black, coached the Baa-Baas.
The media in the UK and Australia praised the exciting game as a classic thriller, resembling at some stages, “school boy” rugby of open try movements.
Alastair Kellock, Scottish lock, captained the Barbarians, and, you can hear his post-game interview, and, more importantly, see some of the tries on the video at Rugby Today. The classic is an 80-meter romp that begins with Saili, the All-Black fly-half, offloading to Aussie Nick Cummins (he of the long flowing blond locks), who spins out to Boshoff sprinting for the posts.
In November, the Australians will play Wales, France, Ireland, and England to complete the tour.
Barbarians (12) 36
Tries: Halai, Thomson, Saili, Cummins, Boshoff; Cons: Slade (2), Boshoff (2); Pens: Slade
Australia (14) 40
Tries: Carter, Robinson, Kuridrani, Horne, Foley, McMahon; Cons: Cooper (3), Foley (2)