Barbarians 25 All Blacks 18
You get what you deserve when you treat a game like this as a ‘development’ match and turn up with your 2nd XV expecting to easily roll a scratch Baa Baas side.
It wasn’t always like this. The history of All Blacks v Barbarians end of tour matches goes back to 1954 and there have been many occasions since where prolific running rugby skills, commitment and elan were on display.
The match in 1973 and Gareth Edward’s ‘best ever’ try is the classic example. In the days when front rowers only scrummed, even England hooker John Pullin played his part and actually passed the ball in ‘that try’.
Sadly, in the professional era it has now become a money making venture for the NZRFU. I’m not sure there’s any point in turning up if you’re not going to put your top players on display.
Still, not a bad crowd of 65,000 turned up at HQ to watch the ‘B’ team get taught a lesson by some very talented footy players. If anybody thought this wasn’t going to be a serious match, they were mistaken, especially in the 2nd half when the Baa Baas had a sniff of victory.
Did you see the way their players and coach reacted after they won – absolutely ecstatic?
The All Black team selection for this game was obviously planned before the tour. Maybe the contract said ‘at least Richie McCaw and half a dozen First XV players’ had to be on the park at some stage – the latter duly trudged out in the last 20 minutes to meet their contractual obligation.
The All Blacks should arrange mid week fixtures like the Wallabies and Springboks instead of using iconic Baa Baas matches as cannon fodder.
The good news was that the All Black dirties entered into the spirit of the occasion and tried to play running rugby like their weekend cousins. I suppose they’re playing for their futures so it isn’t surprising they gave it a lash.
Crikey, wasn’t it a bad hair day? First up Drew ‘Schmoo’ Mitchell. What was that on his head? A dead rat? Or even Rocky Racoon? Drew……David Beckham you ain’t…..leave the hair bear stuff to Gits.
Andy Powell. He of the Messiah locks with the Cymru Dragons. Cut off, like Delilah’s Sampson…..or Tom Jones’ anyway. He’s gone and done a George!
Justin Marshall on the commentary team. Dunny brush bleached Warnie. And like Warnie, he’s way too old for that sort of look. Mate, if that’s what you have to do to pull those two birds, can’t wait to see the photos?
That was the first time I’ve heard the NZ national anthem turned into muzak, coming to an elevator near you. And as for God Save the Queen, not one Baa Baas player was singing it except maybe Nigel Owens, if he was there in an official capacity?
Didn’t Bryan Habana play well? Three tries to gain Man of the Match honours. Two of them were set up by Australian boys. The first one Schmoo scooped up in his own 22m and ran a good 30m before an overhead pass to Habana as the defence closed in. Bryan’s jet shoes did the rest.
His second try was from an intercept of a Stephen Donald cut-out pass – more on him soon. Habana went for his trade mark intercept, juggled the ball a few times and miraculously held on. He powered away from Richie McCaw to score just before the break to make it 14-20 to the Baa Baas, after Git’s conversion.
Earlier on Luke McAlister, who had a powerful game, made a great break which eventually led to Ben Smith scoring his first All Black try.
Habana’s third try was in the second half after Anthony Boric had scored for the All Blacks from a sweeping movement downfield and a TMO call. The Baa Baas were hot on attack and Gits fooled the defence for Steyn to put Habana over in the corner.
The game was generally entertaining and free flowing with the second half pretty intense. The Baa Baas were deserved winners. As for the Wallaby players, Gits was outstanding for the second week in a row. His positional kicking was exceptional and he was dangerous whenever he touched the ball.
Rocky was tireless, muscular throughout with a high workrate. George Smith was kept on for the entire match and was into everything. He effected numerous turnovers at the breakdown and created that link between forwards and backs. Disappointed I didn’t see a grubber kick though….
Schmoo Mitchell had an up and down match, doing some really good stuff mixed with a bit of indecision. Squeeky Moore came on at halftime and immediately lost his first two lineout throws. He settled down after that and worked hard.
Of the others Welshman Jamie Roberts and Jacques Fourie looked like they’d been playing together for years, and Victor and Schalk Burger were towers of strength. I also liked the look of their uncapped prop WP ‘Wilhelm Bunter’ Nel.
For the All Blacks, Stephen Donald started OK but it went downhill from there. I think he may have played his last match for the All Blacks. Richie was immense in the first half, especially when he was onside, and Corey Flynn and Rodney So’oialo were everywhere.
The Baa Baas were a scratch side, although loaded with talent. It just goes to show that cream really does rise to the top.