Barbarians V Australia
3 Dec 2008
Barbarians 11 - 18 Australia
An intense and thrilling battle on a cold evening at Wembley saw Australia beat a star-studded Barbarians team, in what was the national stadium's first Rugby Union game since the epic match between England and Wales in 1999, and the final game of Australia's tour.
The Barbarian's squad was like a Who's Who of international rugby with the likes of Richie McCaw, John Smit and George Gregan playing alongside a host of Springbok World Cup winners and Baa-baas veterans like Jerry Collins and Mark Regan. The occassion was deserving of such a squad as it was the centenary of Australia's rugby gold in the 1908 London Olympics and played in the presence of the Princess Royal. In honour of the match 100 years before, the Barbarians all wore yellow Cornwall socks as they departed from their usual club socks tradition.
It was a closely fought battle that showed that the tradition of Barbarians rugby is alive and well. In the first half the 43,600 strong crowd saw a try from Wallaby, Lote Tuqiri and a touchline fight between Federico Pucciariello, the Barbarians Italian prop and Wallaby Quade Cooper as they smashed into the advertising boards.
The second half saw George Gregan, rugby's most capped player arrive on the field at scrum half to play against his own country and things started to look up for the Barbarians, scoring in the 62nd minute thanks to a try from Jery Collins. The turnaround was shortlived however when Francois Steyn missed the conversion and then failed to find the posts with a subsequent penalty and dropped goal, allowing Lachie Turner to score their second and match-winning try for the Wallabies in the closing minutes of the game.
The only thing to upset Australia's victory were injuries to props Matt Dunning who snapped an Achilles tendon and Sekope Kepu who tore a pectoral muscle after the Barbarians demolished a Wallaby scrum in the second half.
The result means Australia go home having won four of their six tour matches having also beaten Italy, England and France but lost to New Zealand and Wales.
P Montgomery (South Africa; rep: S Williams, Wales, 41); J Rokocoko (New Zealand), R Gear (New Zealand; rep: O Smith, England, 51); J de Villiers (South Africa); B Habana (South Africa); F Steyn (South Africa); F du Preez (South Africa; rep: G Gregan, Australia, 59); F Pucciarello (Italy; rep: R Blake, Australia, 33); J Smit (South Africa; rep: M Regan, England, 59); C Johnston (Samoa; rep: N Koster, Western Province, 51); J Botha (South Africa); J Muller (South Africa; rep: c Jack, New Zeland, 51); J Collins (New Zealand); R McCaw (New Zealand); S Burger (South Africa).
Penalty Goals: Montgomery (2)
J O'Connor (rep: D Mitchell, 65); L Tuqiri; R Cross (rep: L Turner, 58); A Ashley-Cooper; D Ioane; Q Cooper; B Sheehan (rep: L Burgess, 51); S Kepu (rep:A Freier, 47); T Polota-Nau; M Dunning (rep: B Alexander, 47); M Chisholm (rep: P Kimlin, 79); H Mecniman; D Mumm; G Smith; R Brown (rep: D Pocock, 47).
Tries: Tuqiri, Turner
Penalty Goals: O'Connor (2)
Referee: C White (England)