A match to light up Twickenham

Barbarians 36 Australia 40

The Barbarians and Australia lit up Twickenham with skill and adventure and shared 11 tries in a classic encounter for the Killik Cup.

In the end the famous invitation side fell just one try short of victory at the end of a pulsating second half.

When Bernard Foley converted Sean McMahon 68th minute try the Wallabies had scored 19 points in 16 minutes and looked home and hosed with an 18-point lead.

But Nick Cummins unlocked his former team's defence six minutes from time to score - then led a classic 85-metre counterattack finished off by Lions fly half Marnitz Boshoff.

They were still attacking from their own half when the clock finally ran down and referee Jaco Peyper called time.

Head Coach Sir John Kirwan had given the Barbarians licence to use some classic tricks and they unveiled an 11-man lineout, American Football style long throw and a cheeky tapped penalty move within the first 10 minutes.

But there was more than mere gimmickry in evidence as the industry of their forwards put Australia on the back foot and a high-quality back line took their chances with aplomb as wing Frank Halai and flanker Adam Thomson scored in opposite corners inside the opening half-hour.

Close range efforts from Sam Carter and Benn Robinson edged the Wallabies 14-12 in front by half time, though, and they struck first after the break when man of the match Tevita Kuridrani carved through their midfield defence on the way to the line.

The pendulum swung again as Francis Saili kicked, chased and won a 40 metre sprint to the line, with Slade’s excellent conversion and long-range penalty nudging the Barbarians 22-21 ahead.

The Australia fightback was a serious one and wing Rob Horne, Foley and McMahon all struck for tries in the 57th, 65th and 68th minutes.

But they were put under pressure from lineout and scrum in their own 22 inside the final 10 minutes with Tim Nanai Williams’s soft hands and Cummins’s ability to pick a killer line putting him in under the posts.

And then came the classic score. Rob Horne was hauled down 15 metres from the Barbarians’ line by replacement scrum half Sarel Pretorius and the turnover ball went through the hands of Matt Todd, Nanai Williams and Saili before Cummins beat three defenders and unloaded for Boshoff to gallop home from half way.

Barbarians T Nanai-Williams; F Halai, J de Jongh (J Tuculet 54), F Saili, N Cummins; C Slade (M Boshoff 69), T Cubelli (S Pretorius 58); M Stevens (T du Toit 49), J Parsons (M Schwalger 49), A Ta’avao (L Adriaanse 52), D Bird, A Kellock (capt, M Alemanno 49), A Thomson (H Brussow 52), M Todd, S Luatua. 

Scorers: Tries: Halai, Thomson, Saili, Cummins, Boshoff. Cons: Slade 3. Pen: Slade.

Australia I Folau; H Speight, T Kuridrani, M Toomua (C Leali’ifano 65), R Horne; Q Cooper (B Foley 54), W Genia (N White 54); B Robinson (J Slipper 54), S Fainga’a (J Hanson 54), B Alexander (S Kepu 54), S Carter (W Skelton 58), J Horwill, S Higginbotham (S McMahon 19), M Hodgson (capt, Skelton 21-25), B McCalman. 

Scorers: Carter, Robinson, Kuridrani, Horne, Foley, McMahon. Cons: Cooper 3, Foley 2.
Referee: J Peyper (SA).