December 19, 2018, 10:59

Greatest Barbarians matches: 10 classic Baa-Baas games

Greatest Barbarians matches: 10 classic Baa-Baas games

The Barbarians face the All Blacks on Saturday at Twickenham, live on Sky Sports Action, in their 96th match against a touring nation.

Some of the most exciting rugby union encounters of all time have involved the Barbarians and in anticipation of what should be another fascinating clash this weekend, we’ve picked out 10 classic Baa-Baas games since 1948…

Barbarians vs New Zealand

November 4, 2017, 2:30pm

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Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Barbarians 9-6 Australia 1948

Where better to start than the first fixture. January 31 1948 saw the invitational outfit take on the Wallabies at Cardiff Arms Park in a match that was initially arranged to help pay for the Australian squad’s ticket home via Canada.

The Baa-Baas secured an unexpected 9-6 victory in front of 45,000 fans in Cardiff.

Barbarians 6-0 South Africa 1961

One of the most famous days in Baa-Baas history came against the Springboks in 1961 as they pulled off a monumental triumph at Arms Park in Cardiff.

South Africa arrived in Europe that year and beat Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England (twice) before their Barbarians fixture and were hot favourites to dispatch the men in Black and White.

Ireland hooker Ronnie Dawson was captain and led the side to an astounding 6-0 victory, remembered mostly for Haydn Mainwaring’s monumental tackle on Springbok skipper Avril Malan with a try on the cards.

Barbarians 23-11 New Zealand 1973

For many, this is the greatest Barbarians display and contains one of the finest tries ever scored.

Kiwi wing Bryan Williams kicked the ball into the Baa-Baas 22, Welsh fly-half Phil Bennett recovered possession and began stepping black shirts all about the place. Seven sets of hands and an attack stretching the entire length of the pitch later and Gareth Davies was screaming over in the corner.

The All Blacks had been unbeaten against all four Home Nations on their 1973 tour before this clash and viewed the Baa-Baas game as a chance for revenge having lost the 1971 Lions tour.

Davies’ try after just three minutes set the Barbarians on course for a pulsating victory though, and one which will never be forgotten.

Barbarians 30-37 Australia 1984

Australia’s visit to Cardiff in 1984 was a magnificent contest littered with 11 tries between the teams.

Australia had completed a Home Nations Grand Slam before their Baa-Baas fixture, becoming the first Wallabies side to do sp.

In a game which encapsulated everything Barbarians rugby is all about, a plethora of running rugby saw Australia win out 37-30, with quality and excitement in abundance.

The Wallabies, who had been written off before their European tour having lost the last match of the Bledisloe Cup that year, returned home as heroes and in 2002 became recognised by the Australia Hall of Fame as one of their greatest sports teams.

Barbarians 22-40 Australia 1988

Four years later and the Wallabies and Barbarians played out another high-octane affair in Cardiff, the standout moment of which was a superlative David Campese score for Australia.

Fixtures against the Barbarians have regularly inspired players on both sides to produce mesmeric pieces of play, and Campese’s slaloming solo effort falls firmly into that category.

His try, which turned Wales star Jonathan Davies inside out, was so good it received one of the loudest and most fervent reactions ever at the Arms Park.

Barbarians 23-15 South Africa 1994

In December 1994, the Springboks arrived in Dublin for the first Baa-Baas game away from Cardiff and keen for a fresh start on rugby’s world stage post-apartheid.

Their fixture with the Barbarians was possibly the most intense Baa-Baas encounter of all time, with physicality to the fore.

Once again the invitational side defied expectation at Lansdowne Road as tries from Ireland’s Simon Geoghegan
and France’s Philippe Saint-Andre saw them claim a 23-15 success.

And that against a side which would be crowned world champions just six months later.

Barbarians 22-5 South Africa 2007

From beating a Springbok side who would go on to claim the World Cup, we jump 13 years ahead to a Barbarians win against the reigning world champions in 2007.

With South Africa’s World Cup winning coach Jake White on the way out, the Springboks couldn’t finish their glorious year with victory as an energetic Baa-Baas team ran them ragged.

Matt Giteau, Joe Rokocoko, Ma’a Nonu and Jason Robinson, who was making his final appearance, ran riot as the Baa-Baas produced one of their best halves of rugby to go in 15-5 ahead at the break.

They notched another score at the beginning of the second period through Rocky Elsom and with that were out of sight. This was also the Baa-Baas game made famous for the late Jerry Collins lining out in Barnstaple second XV socks!

The atmosphere and occasion was so good it convinced Martyn Williams, scorer of the Barbarians’ second try that day, to come out of international retirement for Wales.

Barbarians 11-18 Australia 2008

A year after the concept of the Barbarians had been largely denounced and was predicted to come to an end, the victory over South Africa changed things completely.

Indeed notions had been reversed to such an extent that the Baa-Baas XV that took to Wembley to face Australia in December 2008 could possibly be considered the strongest ever.

Barbarians squad v Australia 2008

Barbarians: 15 Percy Montgomery (SA), 14 Joe Rokocoko (NZ), 13 Rico Gear (NZ), 12 Jean de Villiers (SA), 11 Bryan Habana (SA), 10 Francois Steyn (SA), 9 Fourie du Preez (SA); Federico Pucciariello (Ita), John Smit (SA, capt), Census Johnston (Sam), 4 Bakkies Botha (SA), 5 Johann Muller (SA), 6 Jerry Collins (NZ), 7 Richie McCaw (NZ), 8 Schalk Burger (SA).

The game, which was a London Olympic Centenary match at the new Wembley, saw a sterling Australian defensive display get the better of the star-studded Barbarians.

Barbarians 25-18 New Zealand 2009

Some 36 years after their maiden triumph over the All Blacks, the Barbarians struck again as they defeated New Zealand in thrilling fashion at Twickenham.

A Bryan Habana hat-trick clinched victory in a compelling clash as the Baa-Baas once again caused a stir on the world stage.

The All Blacks had won all five of their previous Tests that autumn, conceding just one try, but against a Barbarians side which cut loose, the lead changed hands three times and went down to the final second as the men in black and white clinched a famous victory.

Barbarians 31-31 South Africa 2016

The most recent epic clash saw the Barbarians and Allister Coetzee’s Springboks share 10 tries as part of a 31-31 draw last autumn at Wembley.

South Africa came into the November 2016 clash low on confidence and went on to just about avoid a humiliating defeat.

A Baa-Baas team far from their strongest tore the Boks apart and with nine minutes to go led 31-19.

Tries in the last 10 minutes from Francois Venter and Rohan Janse van Rensburg meant South Africa got away with a draw.

Source: skysports.com

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