Where there’s Will

Green­wood of The Tele­graph in­spires Baa-Baas’ fi­nal flourish

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Mick Cleary RUGBY COR­RE­SPON­DENT at Twick­en­ham

New Zealand were al­ways go­ing to be the win­ners of this frol­ic­some day out at Twick­en­ham, no mat­ter how the score­line panned out. The NZ union pock­eted a few mil­lion as a match fee, the All Blacks got a use­ful run-out with their mix’n’match side ahead of three test­ing in­ter­na­tion­als to come in Paris, Ed­in­burgh and Cardiff, while, with 13 Ki­wis in the Bar­bar­ian ranks, All Black head coach Steve Hansen was able to run the rule over a host of fringe can­di­dates for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, even if the star turn was a South African, Bar­bar­ians flanker Kwagga Smith.

The crowd got their money’s worth, too, with switch­back en­ter­tain­ment, full of thrust and parry, plenty of craft and graft, the Bar­bar­ians set­ting the pace as well as the tone with their vivid, con­certed play, only to be un­done by a wham-bam salvo of three tries in six min­utes just be­fore the mid-point of the sec­ond half.

“We got caught up a bit in the fes­ti­val of the oc­ca­sion but we adapted,” said Hansen. “This tour is all about grow­ing for the fu­ture and we’ve started that. The tests will be much tougher. It is to­tally dif­fer­ent when you go to Test level.”

Bar­bar­ians’ head coach, Rob­bie Deans, said: “The Bar­bar­ian spirit is alive and well. The jer­sey means a lot to these boys. We wanted them to play with­out fear and they did. This is right up there with Bar­bar­ians per­for­mances.”

There was no one more ea­gle-eyed than Bar­bar­ians flanker Steven Lu­atua. There were mis­giv­ings in New Zealand when Lu­atua an­nounced that he was sign­ing for Bris­tol. Those re­grets will be even greater af­ter wit­ness­ing his thun­der­ous play, gob­bling up in­ter­cep­tions and steam­ing clear, set­ting up George Bridge’s try in the 15th minute and mak­ing a nui­sance of him­self all over the field. New Zealand’s loss is Bris­tol’s gain. It was a shame to see him limp off in the 61st minute. The Bar­bar­ians, though, never did wilt, round­ing off an im­pres­sive show­ing with a sec­ond try for Bridge, the Can­ter­bury full­back, in the fi­nal play, one in­spired by coach Will Green­wood. It was well de­served. They had been true to the shirt, hav­ing fun but per­form­ing with heart and steel right to the end.

There was a loose­ness as well as lax­ity in New Zealand’s play, a hel­ter-skel­ter tempo that the crowd loved but which would have caused the All Black coaches to hold their heads in their hands. There was a mighty up­field surge from Vaea Fi­fita early in the first half that would have had them purring in the coaches’ box be­fore the 25-year -old got car­ried away with his own prow­ess, swerved left, dou­ble-backed, ig­nored his bet­ter-placed team-mate, Ngani Laumape, and ended up run­ning up his own back­side. Fi­fita made some sort of amends with his try in the 35th minute. The flanker is raw but rich in po­ten­tial.

New Zealand did pull them­selves to­gether, half-backs, TJ Per­e­nara and Beau­den Bar­rett fi­nally get­ting on each other’s wave­length to slice and weave through, cre­at­ing the po­si­tion from where Per­e­nara him­self touched down af­ter a lovely burst and off­load from wing Waisake Na­holo.

But it was the Bar­bar­ians who thor­oughly de­served their 17-10 in­ter­val lead, Richard Mo’unga scor­ing their open­ing try, and they came out in the sec­ond-half with the same gung-ho spirit al­lied to a smart foot­balling sense of pos­si­bil­ity.

Within min­utes the ir­re­press­ible Smith was once more lead­ing the charge out of de­fence. The 24-year-old from Jo­han­nes­burg may not be the big­gest but he played with zest and zip through­out.

The All Blacks knew that they had to be tighter, brighter and punchier if they were to dampen the en­thu­si­asm of the Bar­bar­ians and draw them in. At one point early in the sec­ond half Bar­rett com­plained to ref­eree Nigel Owens that it was get­ting a bit “car­ni­vally”.

The All Blacks knew what they wanted – it was time for busi­ness. No more loose stuff, kick for po­si­tion, pres­sure, force mis­takes, keep it sim­ple. The three tries in six min­utes just be­fore the hour mark were all text­book. In­side cen­tre Laumape smashed through Mo’unga for the first, Sam Cane bur­rowed over for the next while a rear-field cock-up al­lowed hooker Nathan Har­ris to romp over. From 15-17 to 31-17 in the blink of an eye.

The Bar­bar­ians re­fused to fade, Bridge latch­ing on to a ball pin­balling around to race through, the mob-like cel­e­bra­tions of his team-mates show­ing how much it meant to them all.

Scor­ing 5-0 Mo’unga try; 10-0 Bridge try; 10-5 Per­e­nara try; 15-5 Carter try; 17-5 Mo’unga con; 17-10 Fi­fita try; 17-15 Laumape try; 17-17 Bar­rett con; 17-22 Cane try; 17-24 Bar­rett con; 17-29 Har­ris try; 17-31 Bar­rett con; 22-31 Bridge try. Bar­bar­ians G Bridge; J Savea, R Buck­man (R Du Preez 68), H Vorster, V Aso; R Mo’unga, A El­lis (M Drum­mond 51); J van Rooyen (B Franks 46), A Strauss (A van der Merwe 61), A Moli (R Smith 46), S Carter (R Ack­er­mann 53), D Bird (W Britz 50), S Lu­atua (D Hunt 62), K Smith, L White­lock. New Zealand XV D Hav­ili (L Sopoaga 46); W Na­holo (M Duffie, 68), A Lienert-Brown, N Laumpae, S Ta­mani­valu; B Bar­rett (L Sopoaga 16-22), TJ Per­e­nara (T Kerr-Barlow 46); K Hames (T Perry 56), N Har­ris (A Aumua 68), O Tu’un­gafasi (J Toomaga-Allen 68), L Ro­mano, S Bar­rett (P Tuip­u­lotu 56), V Fi­fita, A Savea, J Kaino (S Cane 46). Ref­eree N Owens (Wales).

At the dou­ble: George Bridge, Bar­bar­ians’ Kiwi out­side-back, shrugs off Ardie Savea for one of his two tries against his coun­try­men

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.