The Australian Under 20s Barbarians have edged out a powerful Tongan Under 20s side 40-36 at Viking Park in Canberra in the opening match of the 2015 National Australian Under 20s Championship.
The four try victory ensures that the Barbarians got their campaign off to a winning start.
Barbarians Head Coach Russell Ingram was satisfied with how his side came together.
“It was just what we needed going into games against Queensland and NSW. It was perfect preparation.
“There was lots of good things and a number of things we have to work on no doubt about that.
“We were a bit rusty but you have to expect that with guys coming together two days ago.
“There are some really quality footballers out there but we just have to pull it together as a team a bit more and trust what we are trying to do as a team.”
The Australian Under 2os Barbarians comprises players from the ACT, country NSW and Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
The match started with both teams testing each other in the middle of the field as neither side was able to establish a clear advantage in the opening stages.
A patient Barbarians side smashed Tonga at the breakdown in their defensive zone eventually allowing for lock Josh Vainarolo to score next to the posts.
Fullback Pat Toeta slotted the easy conversion to take the score to 7-0.
Not to be outdone the largest Tongan forward pack put the side into an attacking position well within the Barbarians 22.
With an aggressive pack bearing down on them lock and first try scorer Josh Vainarolo was penalized at the breakdown and given a yellow card reducing the Barbarians to 14 men.
With the extra man Tonga was able to cross next to the posts and with the conversion the score was levelled at 7-7 with 19 minutes remaining in the first half.
Touchline defence from the combined Australian side held the Tongan outfit at bay when they attacked in the final stanzas of the first half, eventually though the pressure was too much and the Tongan forwards again crossed for the try.
The successful conversion by captain Patelesio Oweowe took Tonga’s lead to 7-14 on the cusp of halftime.
Not to be outdone the Barbarians backs rallied and through a quick show of hands outpaced the Tongan defence allowing Kauri Cudd to score in the corner to bring the scores to 14-14.
With the halftime siren blaring the Australian Barbarians became undisciplined at the breakdown and Tongan flyhalf Patelesio Oweowe converted a penalty from 45 metres out to take the score to 14-17 in favour of Tonga at halftime.
The second half saw both sides use the ball more in hand and move the game out of the forwards.
Australia scored two quick tries with Tonga replying almost immediately to take the scores to 19-24 within the first ten minutes of the second half.
The Barbarians continued to pressure Tonga as they worked their way back into the match with tries from replacement Sione Tuipolotu taking the score to 33-24 in favour of the home side.
With just over five minutes remaining in the match, the tempo increased as both teams looked to secure victory.
A penalty try against the Barbarians for collapsing the maul gifted their International opposition seven points.
Tonga took the lead moments later off a poor Australian clearance as they scored in the corner and wrested back the lead 33-36.
As the full time siren rang around the ground the Barbarians were patient and backed themselves eventually leading to a try in the corner to the young Australian side.
The successful conversion took the score to 40-36 and relief for the Barbarians squad.
The Australian Barbarians next match is against Queensland at Viking Park in Canberra.