Barbarians: (12) 36
New Australia coach Michael Cheika got off to a winning start in the Wallabies opening tour match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday, some days after Ewen McKenzie’s abrupt resignation.
Having reunited the halves pairing of Quade Cooper and Will Genia, Cheika also wrung some changes on the captaincy appointing back rower Matt Hodgson as his first captain.
But it was the Barbarians who got the first and last tries of the day. Frank Halai powered his way past the Aussies taking the home side 5-0 up. That try seemed to have put the Wallabies to swords as they nearly allowed Halai to sneak in another try two minutes later.
Australia tried to stretch the defence, sideline to sideline, as they pushed forward going all out in search of the breakthrough and it duly came.
Sam Carter levelled matters in the 28th minute overcoming a knock on before recalled Cooper converted to give them a 7-5 lead. It was game on.
Adam Thompson put the Barbarians back in the lead with a well executed try but their lead didn’t last long as action see-sawed from one end to the other.
Kuridrani, who had an impeccable game, was again involved in the build-up setting up Benn Robinson for the Australians second try. Cooper again converted leaving the score at 14-12 and that’s how it remained until half time.
The big man Kuridrani continued the second half from where he left off in the first beating his markers to score the second half’s first try. Cooper, who was also having a brilliant game after his Brisbane City won the Australian Buildcorp NRC Championship, converted cushioning the Wallabies 21-12.
Francis Saili, the most influential attacking back for the Barbarians, restored parity a few minutes later with a try of his own in the 48th minute.
The Barbarians then took a 22-21 lead after 50th minute mark courtesy of an accurate penalty kick by Colin Slade.
But the Wallabies were all out for a win and they took advantage of a turnover when Nic White passed the ball to Rob Horn who scored an easy try in the corner to take the Aussies 26-22 up. Replacement Bernard Foley failed to convert.
Foley made up for the earlier miss scoring and converting his try to give the Wallabies a ten point lead. It was raining Aussie tries with the Barbarians looking tired and disinterested in the game. Sean McMahon scored yet another try, Foley converted, 40-22 it stood with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
Nick Cummins and South African Golden Lions star, Marnitz Boshoff, had the last Barbarians tries but they fell just short losing the match by four points.
Tries: Robinson, Horne, Carter, Foley, Kuridrani, McMahon
Conversions: Cooper (3), Foley (2)
Tries: Thomson, Cummins, Halai, Boshoff, Saili
Conversions: Slade (2), Boshoff (2)