Barbarians turn on style before being edged out 31-28 in Sydney thriller


AUSTRALIA sneaked home 31-28 in the closing stages of another classic encounter with the Barbarians as the teams shared nine tries at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney. 

The Baa-baas were at their counter-attacking best as Taqele Naiyaravoro scored twice with Andrew Ready and Tom Banks also touching down and Quade Cooper adding four conversions.

They led by four points going into the last 10 minutes but lost Naiyaravoro and Cooper to the sin-bin and conceded the decisive score when former Wallabies captain Stephen Moore was driven over seven minutes from time.

Taqele Naiyaravoro celebrates

Taqele Naiyaravoro scored twice for the Barbarians 

Fly half Duncan Paia’aua touched down twice for Australia with wing Henry Speight and flanker Jack Dempsey scoring either side of half time.

Australia dominated the opening stages with Paia’aua dummying his way through a midfield gap but the Barbarians produced a stunning spell which brought three tries in five minutes - and a near-miss when Taniela Tupou crossed the line from an old-school up-the-jumper penalty move that was ruled out as an unsportsmanlike piece of subterfuge.

First Ready twisted over from close range for the first before two long-range attacks. Banks and Wycliff Palu were both involved in the build-up for the next before Tim Nanai-Williams’s no-look inside flick put Naiyaravoro through the middle. Then the giant centre broke out of his own half, passing to Banks who galloped away for a 40-metre run-in.

Speight struck with the final play of the half to reduce the Barbarians’ lead to 21-12 at the break, with Head Coach Alan Jones urging the invitation side to ‘finish them off’ during the break.


Tim Nanai-Williams starred again

Tim Nanai-Williams starred again against Australia

Instead it was Australia who regained the lead with Dempsey and Paia’aua scoring after 53 and 61 minutes.

Cooper, meanwhile, looked completely at home in the famous Barbarians’ jersey and opened up the Wallabies with a great piece of skill 15 minutes from time.

Just outside his own 22 and with his passing options blocked, he improvised a chip out wide to Banks, who flew down the right and put Naiyaravoro away for his second.

They couldn’t hold on to the advantage, though, once Naiyaravoro was yellow-carded and Cooper followed him to the sin-bin after a high challenge on Israel Folau that he couldn’t quite bail out of in time.

Australia made the two-man advantage pay when Moore scored in his final appearance at home in the green and gold but even with 13 the Barbarians kept on threatening until the final whistle.


Barbarians captain Quade Cooper

Barbarians captain Quade Cooper

Barbarians: Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs & Samoa); Tom Banks (Brumbies), Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs & Australia), George Moala (Blues & New Zealand), Eto Nabuli (Reds & Australia); Quade Cooper (Reds & Australia, captain), Augustine Pulu (Blues & New Zealand); Pekahou Cowan (Force & Australia), Andrew Ready (Reds), Taniela Tupou (Reds), Luke Jones (Bordeaux Begles & Australia), Sam Carter (Brumbies & Australia), Isi Naisarani (Force), Matt Hodgson (Force & Australia, vice-captain), Wycliff Palu (Toyota Verblitz & Australia).
Replacements: Anaru Rangi (Force), Ben Alexander (Brumbies & Australia), Salesi Manu (Bond), Matt Philip (Force), Kane Koteka (Force), Theo Strang (Sydney University), Sam Greene (Toyota Industries Shuttles), Andrew Kellaway (Waratahs)
Australia: Karmichael Hunt (Reds); Henry Speight (Brumbies), Samu KerevI (Reds), Billy Meakes (Force), Israel Folau (Waratahs); Duncan Paia'aua (Reds), Nick Phipps (Waratahs, captain); Tom Robertson (Waratahs), Jordan Uelese (Rebels), Allan Alaalatoa  (Brumbies), Kane Douglas (Reds), Lukhan Tui (Reds), Ned Hanigan (Waratahs), Jack Dempsey (Waratahs), Lopeti Timani (Rebels).
Replacements: Stephen Moore (Reds), Tetera Faulkner (Rebels), Jermaine Ainsley (Rebels), Liam Wright (Reds), Ben McCalman (Force), Joe Powell (Brumbies), Curtis Rona (Force), Izaia Perese (Reds).