Nai­yar­a­voro scores in 31-all draw for Bar­bar­ians against South Africa

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Lon­don: Fran­cois Ven­ter and Ron­han Janse van Rens­burg both scored late tries as South Africa res­cued a 31-31 draw with the Bar­bar­ians in a thrilling con­test at Wem­b­ley yes­ter­day. The Spring­boks were 31-19 down with nine min­utes left be­fore their midfield duo scored the last of the game’s 10 tries. And there was still time for Bar­bar­ians re­place­ment Luke Mo­ra­han to com­plete what would have been a hat-trick but the Aus­tralia in­ter­na­tional knocked on. It took the Bar­bar­ians just five min­utes to open the scor­ing when, fol­low­ing a cleanly won li­ne­out, fly-half Robert du Preez - one of four South Africans in the Bar­bar­ians start­ing XV - checked the Spring­bok de­fence with a show-and-go be­fore Blues full-back Me­lani Nanai showed good strength to cross in the cor­ner. South Africa were soon on level terms when Pieter-Steph du Toit surged through af­ter win­ning ball at a li­ne­out, with the Bar­bar­ians de­fence at the set-piece all but non-ex­is­tent. Bar­bar­ians matches are meant to en­cour­age at­tack­ing play and the in­vi­ta­tional side re­gained the lead with a try wor­thy of the club’s best tra­di­tions in the 19th minute. The Baa Baas turned over ruck ball deep in their own 22 and un­capped High­landers wing Matt broke clear down the right touch­line. He re­gath­ered his own chip, evaded Jesse Kriel and passed in­side to Bar­bar­ians cap­tain Andy El­lis, with the former All Blacks scrum-half round­ing off an 80-me­tre try. Du Preez added the ex­tras to put the Bar­bar­ians 12-5 in front. South Africa drew level four min­utes later when, af­ter Pa­trick Lam­bie had spurned a kick­able penalty, blind­side flanker Roelof Smit crossed from a close-range li­ne­out. Lam­bie con­verted and it looked as if the half would end level at 12-12. But in the 40th minute, a burst by Nanai re­sulted in Aus­tralia wing Taqele Nai­yarovo go­ing over in the cor­ner for a bril­liant un­con­verted try and a 17-12 lead at the break. Four min­utes into the sec­ond half, though, the Spring­boks led for the first time in the match. Van Rens­burg, in his first South Africa ap­pear­ance, made a clever break that saw him re­lease wing Sergeal Petersen, whose an­gled run un­der the posts set up an easy con­ver­sion for Lam­bie. But amid nu­mer­ous re­place­ments and af­ter they had a score dis­al­lowed for a knock-on, the Bar­bar­ians re­gained the lead in the 55th minute. A counter-at­tack move in­volv­ing flankers Jor­dan Tau­fua and Brad Shields ended with Nanai find­ing Mo­ra­han for a well-worked try con­verted by fel­low sub­sti­tute Richard Mo’Unga. Mo­ra­han was on hand again in the 67th minute for another con­verted try when he ex­ploited a gap in South Africa’s de­fen­sive line af­ter a strong drive by the Bar­bar­ians’ for­wards. That gave the Bar­bar­ians breath­ing space at 31-19 but South Africa cut the lead to five points with nine min­utes left when Ven­ter crossed and then, in the 77th minute, van Rens­burg just did enough to stay in touch as he went in at the cor­ner.

Lam­bie’s missed con­ver­sion left a thrilling match tied at 31-31.

South Africa’s tour con­tin­ues with a full Test against Eng­land at Twick­en­ham on Sun­day. Sky Sports

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