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