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Eddie: Why we can't let the Barbarians go

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The Barbarians upheld what Eddie Jones described as the “best traditions of the game” as they shared 10 tries with Fiji in the Killik Cup match at Twickenham.

Jones had spent a week in charge of a team containing some of the South Africa side that defeated his England team in this year's World Cup final — as well as star names from France, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

They went down 33-31 to Fiji but not without an outstanding final flourish which saw Morne Steyn strike two minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish.


Jones was satisfied with the performance and handed over the reins toasting everything the famous invitation club stands for, having blended the talents of Rory Best, Tendai Mtawarira, Mathieu Bastareaud and Makazole Mapimpi together to play in the best Barbarians tradition.

Mapimpi — who scored a stunning try in that World Cup final — touched down twice against Fiji with the other Baa-baas' tries coming from Mathieu Bastareaud and Andre Esterhuizen.
 
"It’s been a real honour,” said Jones.

 

"Even just to be able to talk to Rory [Best] in an informal way has been fantastic, the same with Beast [Mtawarira] and there’s some brilliant young players coming through. You've see the next generation, maybe, from New Zealand and South Africa today.

Eddie Jones pitchside

Eddie Jones pitchside at Twickenham for the Killik Cup match

"The other thing I liked was we had guys who played in the World Cup final who’ve been on the bus for two weeks, having a great time, and they come out here and play with a lot of spirit and a lot of heart, they muck in, and Napimpi’s work-rate off the ball was exceptional.

"It just shows you what a great institution the Barbarians is because it does engender those values we all started the game for. We can’t let it go. It’s an important part of the game.

"I just love coaching, I love the game and I love coaching. And to get the opportunity to coach a good group of players and try and play a little bit of a part in bringing them together and playing some good rugby... I’m disappointed we didn’t win but then you see the quality of rugby we played in the second half and some of it was outstanding.

“The effort and spirit we played with was tremendous. It took us a while to find our way which is normal but once we got a bit of rhythm to our game and held on to the ball I thought we played some really lovely rugby.

Eddie in training

Eddie Jones enjoys a Barbarians training session in London

"We spoke in the lead up to the game — that this was an important game, we wanted to win, we prepared to win. In a lot of ways there’s not a lot hanging on the result other than the traditions of the game and the tradition of the game won. We were part of that, did our part, we’d have liked to be up there collecting the cup but we played our part very well.”

Taking on Fiji at Twickenham was the first leg of a four match autumn tour for the Baa-baas.

John Mitchell will coach the side when they play against Brazil in Sao Paulo on November 20 before the Barbarians men’s and women’s teams are both in action at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on November 30.

Jo Yapp and Rachel Taylor are in charge of the Barbarians’ women’s side while Warren Gatland bids farewell to Wales by coaching the Barbarians men’s team alongside former Australia boss Robbie Deans.