The Australian Barbarians side has taken a 38-32 win in the first of two games against the New Zealand Heartland XV at Levin Domain in Levin this afternoon.
The Barbarians were strong all match, with the Heartland pushing hard until the final whistle, but the Aussies were too good and took the bragging rights.
The Barbarians started with a bang straight from the kick-off with Greater Sydney Rams winger Larry Hermens applying great pressure to force the ball out of play just outside the 22.
In the tenth minute, it was Hermens who turned defence into attack after a strong set of phases from the ‘Baa Baas’. A nice outside ball from Paul Asquith sent him over for the first points of the game.
The Heartland XV struck back four minutes later, with outside centre TK Moeke going over after breaking two Barbarian tackles to score. Stephen Perofeta converted the kick to give them the hosts an early lead.
Within two minutes the Barbarians had hit back. A lovely inside ball from UC Vikings’ Rodney Iona found fullback Asquith who put on some neat footwork to dot down under the posts. Isaac Thompson converted and the ‘Baa Baas’ were back in front (12-7).
After a cracking line break from Perth Spirit’s Maalonga Konelio, the Barbarians managed to get a two-on-one in the corner with the captain Ryan Dalziel getting an easy five points and Thompson had no troubles with the conversion.
Fifteen minutes before the break, a penalty just outside the 22 gave the Heartland XV a chance to kick for the posts, which they took with open arms.
In the 34th minute, prop Cameron Orr was deemed to have deliberately knocked down a Heartland pass and was sent to the sin bin. The Heartland made the most of the 14-man Barbarian defence - a series of slick passes leading to big blindside flanker Fraser Hammond crashing over for his first try of the series. Perofeta Made no mistake with conversion narrowing the margain to just two points at the break.
It took the Heartland XV just three minutes pf the second half to hit the front. Lemi Masoe scored after a great line break from winger Lance Easton with Perofeta easily slotted the extras.
A holding on penalty shortly after gave the Heartland a kick for three points to extended their lead to eight points with under half an hour left.
Dewet Roos came on for Mitch Short and made an immediate impact, burrowing over for a try after a sneaky snipe. Thompson notched the extras to bring the ‘Baa Baas’ back to within a point. However, it didn’t take long for the Heartland to strike back with Perofeta slipping through a tiring defence to claim his first try of the game.
The Australian Barbarian's bench proved lethal with slick hands from NSW Country Eagles back rower Sam Figg and Dewet Roos sending Larry Hermens over for his second of the game. On 75 minutes, the Barbarians struck again through Brisbane City big man Ben Hyne, who bashed his way through after a series of swift ball movements. Thompson took the extras and the ‘Baa Baas’ took back the lead once again with four minutes left.
The final moments of this epic encounter were spent with Heartland camped on the Barbarians try-line, where the Barbarians showed grit and determination to hold them out. Their hard work was rewarded with a penalty which allowed Roos to send the ball into touch and claim a memorable win (38-32).
Australian Barbarians Team to play the New Zealand Heartland XV on Tuesday 10 November:
1. Cameron Orr (Greater Sydney Rams)
2. Ryan Dalziel (CSU Country Eagles)
3. Duncan Chubb (Melbourne Rising)
4. Ben Hyne (Brisbane City)
5. Phil Potgieter (Queensland Country)
6. Dean Oakman-Hunt (UC Canberra Vikings)
7. Rowan Perry (UC Canberra Vikings)
8. Pauli Tuala (CSU Country Eagles)
9. Mitch Short (CSU Country Eagles)
10. Isaac Thompson (UC Canberra Vikings)
11. Maalonga Konelio (Perth Spirit)
12. Rodney Iona (UC Canberra Vikings)
13. Tom Hill (North Harbour Rays)
14. Larry Hermens (Greater Sydney Rams)
15. Paul Asquith (Greater Sydney Rams)
16. Harry Scoble (Perth Spirit)
17. Jed Gillespie (Greater Sydney Rams)
18. Tyrel Lomax (UC Canberra Vikings)
19. Nick Palmer (CSU Country Eagles)
20. Waita Setu (Brisbane City)
21. Sam Figg (CSU Country Eagles)
22. Dewet Roos (Greater Sydney Rams)
23. Andrew Robinson (Sydney Stars)