Saturday, December 5, 2009

International Rugby: Barbarians Take on the All Blacks

New Zealand v Barbarians (UK) RFC at Twickenham (Non test)

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)

Although not a test match, the All Blacks usually take this match as seriously. It always comes at the end of a northern tour or more often the not the New Zealander's find themselves undefeated. Open rugby yes. A defeat-No! Certainly in the past the Barbarian team has taken on a British and Irish Lions look and it has, sometimes, been a battle to the death. Well that's not what, traditionally , it is supposed to be.

Back in 1948 the touring Australian rugby team were a bit short of the readies and their French and North American legs of their northern tour was in some doubt. A match was arranged against the Barbarians as a fund raiser for the Aussies. The Barbarians won 9-6 and a traditional fixture against touring teams was established.

There has been famous games. The 1963-64 All Blacks played open rugby to defeat the club 36-3, with captain Wilson Whineray selling an outrageous dummy to score the last try.

In 1973 the All Blacks were again involved in a match against the Barbarians and again the match was a cracker. Phil Bennett started a movement well inside his 22, he jinked, he side stepped the end result being many hands played the ball until Gareth Edwards scored a magnificent try in the corner.

All who attend such matches by the Barbarian club at Twickenham fully expect a match played traditionally, with open rugby, plenty of passing and a game played in the best of spirits. It hasn't always been that way. Lets hope this game will.

For New Zealand its the last match of their year. They will play their 'second' team which I think is a pity. Why not play more of your top layers and give the Twickers crowd a thrill. I would argue that a Tuesday game against say the England Counties amateur side at say Bath would have been more fitting for the 'second' team and keep the top guys for this fixture. The All Blacks will still want to remain undefeated on this tour.

The Barbarians may have more name players but the Kiwis have a better team combination. This will tell in the end.

Prediction: New Zealand by 16 points



New Zealand
15 Cory Jane
14 Ben Smith
13 Tamati Ellison
12 Luke McAlister
11 Zac Guildford
10 Stephen Donald
9 Brendon Leonard
8 Rodney So'oialo
7 Richie McCaw (capt)
6 Liam Messam
5 Anthony Boric
4 Jason Eaton
3 John Afoa
2 Corey Flynn
1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Andrew Hore
17 Neemia Tialata
18 Adam Thomson
19 Tanerau Latimer
20 Jimmy Cowan
21 Mike Delany
22 Sitiveni Sivivatu
Head Coach: Graham Henry


Drew Mitchell (Australia)
14 Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand)
13 Jaque Fourie (South Africa)
12 Jamie Roberts (Wales)
11 Bryan Habana (South Africa)
10 Matt Giteau (Australia)
9 Fourie du Preez (South Africa)
8 George Smith (Australia)
7 Schalk Burger (South Africa) 6 Rocky Elsom (Australia)
5 Victor Matfield (South Africa)
4 Carlo del Fava (Italy)
3 W P Nel (Free State Cheetahs)
2 Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)
1 Salvatore Perugini (Italy)
16 Stephen Moore (Australia)
17 Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa)
18 Quintin Geldenhuys (Italy)
19 Andy Powell (Wales)
20 Will Genia (Australia)
21 Morne Steyn (South Africa)
22 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
Head Coach: Nik Mallett (South Africa)

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