Barbarians vs Wallabies: Player ratings

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It was a scrappy effort from both sides in Sydney as the Wallabies edged out the Baabaas.

Who worked their way onto Spring Tour in the clash and who can book a holiday?

1. Tom Robertson - 6

Robertson worked hard in his first start in recent memory, and was solid for the Wallabies in the set piece and around the field.

2. Jordan Uelese - 6.5

Uelese had a welcome to first grade moment when he collided with 35-year-old Wycliff Palu early on in the match. Continues to help his Test chances, showing he isn’t out of his depth at international level. Expect him to get more opportunities on the tour.

3. Allan Alaalatoa - 5

Was solid in the scrums, but some loose carries hurt the Wallabies at critical times. A 65-minute stint will only have benefitted him though.

4. Kane Douglas - 4

The Wallabies sing the anthem. Photo: WalmsleyHas had plenty of second chances but can’t seem to find the form that made him one of the Wallabies’ most intimidating in 2015.

5. Lukhan Tui - 7

Was effective in patches but his game was cut short by a leg injury. The Wallabies will be hoping it’s nothing serious - the 21-year-old has been a sensation in his Test outings this year.

6. Ned Hanigan - 5.5

Made a few positive goes with the ball in the second half but cost the Wallabies with turnovers.

7. Jack Dempsey - 9

Jack Dempsey's season is over. Photo: WalmsleyMichael Cheika said it best post-match - the Wallabies would not have won without Dempsey on the field. Cruel blow for the 23-year-old with a hamstring injury ending his 2017, after another barnstorming performance. Was making breaks, winning turnovers and imposing himself physically on the contest.

8. Lopeti Timani - 6.5

Timani didn’t stand out for the Wallabies but he racked up a good defensive outing. Had 11 carries and finished 10 tackles at a near-perfect strike rate.

9. Nick Phipps - 6.5

Phipps didn’t really do anything wrong, but he was part of a Wallabies attack that was hesitant across the board on Saturday afternoon. Still seems the clear second-choice Test halfback.

10. Duncan Paiaaua 7

Hasn’t played much 10 and it showed at times but Paia’aua made himself influential in some important moments.

11. Israel Folau - 6

Couldn’t make an impact on the edge, but warmed into the game after moving back to 15. Didn’t really make any mistakes, but showed that this was an unfamiliar setup for him.

12. Billy Meakes - 6

This game probably served to show a bit of the gap between Meakes and Kurtley Beale. A hard worker but didn’t have the impact he would’ve liked, playing outside a fledgling 10.. Played 55 before being replaced by Curtis Rona.

13. Samu Kerevi - 5.5

Similarly to Meakes, Kerevi didn’t quite take his chance to impose himself on the game and turn the heat on Tevita Kuridrani for the Wallabies’ 13 spot. Will be better for the game time, but needs to find his spark again.

14. Henry Speight - 6.5

When he found the ball, he looked dangerous but he didn’t have many opportunities on Saturday afternoon.

15. Karmichael Hunt - 7

Hunt did his best work after being switched into the midfield. Appears to still have the inside running on the 15 spot, but didn’t sew that up on Saturday.


The wallabies reserves watch on. Photo: Walmsley16. Stephen Moore - 7

A nice way to farewell Australian crowds in a gold jersey. His last-minute try stole the game back for the Wallabies and it would be the match-winner. This guy still has more to give in his final month in the Wallabies fold.

17. Tetera Faulkner - N/A

Just 15 minutes for Faulkner wasn’t enough to make a call.

18. Jermaine Ainsley - N/A

Ainsley didn't have much time to make an impact, pulled off after concern over an ankle injury for the Force prop.

19. Ben McCalman - 8.5

Ben McCalman did not hurt his Spring Tour chances. Photo: WalmsleyHe featured just once in Super Rugby this year but McCalman could very well find himself on the Spring Tour, pending injury prognoses today. Made some dangerous breaks for the Wallabies, with his seven carries producing 73 metres, beating six defenders on the way.

20. Liam Wright - 6

For a kid who has never played Super Rugby before Liam Wright showed some intent in his first run at professional senior level. Was a star for the U20s this year, and if he misses out on Spring Tour, it surely won’t be long before he’s in the Wallabies gold in earnest.

21. Joe Powell - N/A

Only had the 12 minutes in the

22. Curtis Rona - 7.5

Made an immediate impact coming on in the 55th minute, replacing Billy Meakes. A superb break led to Duncan Paia’aua’s second try and put the Wallabies in front. Was effective in defence too.

23. Izaia Perese – 4.5

This kid is very good but he just couldn’t get his hands on the football on Saturday afternoon.


1. Pekahou Cowan 7

Solid in the scrum, which stood up to the Aussies for the most part, and reliable in defence, finishing with nine tackles.

2. Andrew Ready - 7.5

Ready has been good in the NRC and was strong for the Barbarians. Their set piece was good and the hooker managed a try for his efforts as well.

3. Taniela Tupou 8

An extra point here just for the attempt at the ball-up-the-jumper move. Though the try wasn’t awarded, the spectators absolutely loved it. Tupou was strong everywhere else in the game as well, with the Baabaas scrum more than holding its own against Australia.

4. Luke Jones - 7

Jones was a workhorse for the barbarians, not doing anything flashy but finishing with some impressive defensive statistics. Eleven tackles and 49 run metres a great way for him to finish.

5. Sam Carter - 6.5

Kane Douglas and Sam Carter fight for a lineout win. Photo: WalmsleyCarter was similarly involved in the second row, finishing with 11 tackles. It wasn’t the kind of performance that would necessarily springboard him onto Spring Tour, but the Vikings will be pleased to have him back in their team next week.

6. Isi Naisarani - 9

Everything Naisarani touches seems to turn to gold on the rugby field. The backrower was immense for the Barbarians and there is no doubt Australia is counting down the days until he is eligible to play Tests for the Wallabies.

7. Matt Hodgson - 7.5

Matt Hodgson was fearless against the Wallabies. Photo: WalmsleyHis typical fearlessness showed through all afternoon, with the former Force skipper left with another scar to show for his efforts. Had nine tackles and put in some desperate defensive work all afternoon.

8. Wycliff Palu - 7

For someone who hasn’t played in 10 months, Wycliff Palu was quick to try and make a statement in Sydney. He put a huge hit on Australia hooker Jordan Uelese early in the piece and was effective throughout his stint.

9. Augustine Pulu - 7

Crisp, clean service is all you can ask for from your halfback and Pulu gave that. Set up some exciting attacking chances and gave Barbarians good platforms off scrums.

10. Quade Cooper - 7

Cooper is keeping himself in the Spring Tour mix after a solid performance against the Wallabies. He didn’t do anything spectacular and his game ended early with a controversial yellow card, but he certainly held his own.

11. Eto Nabuli  - 8

The Barbarians’ style suits Eto Nabuli to a tee, and he showed his X-factor in Sydney. Made 109 metres from 10 runs, with three linebreaks and three offloads thrown in there as well.

12. George Moala 6

Didn’t get his hands on the ball as much as the other backs but didn’t really make any mistakes either. Ten tackles, though, was more than handy.

13. Taqele Naiyaravoro - 9

Taqele Naiyaravoro was immense. Photo: WalmsleyMichael Cheika was singing Naiyaravoro’s praises after the match and the hulking outside back showed exactly why the Aussie coach has been such a fan of him. A fit Naiyaravoro is a dangerous thing, and he has certainly made himself an outside chance for Spring Tour after Saturday.

14 .Tom Banks - 8

It’s hard to believe Tom Banks was at a Super Rugby crossroads last season. He was brought into Wallabies camp in Canberra and was super for the Barbarians on Saturday afternoon, with a try and a special try assist.

15. Tim Nanai-Williams - 7.5

Nanai-Williams is a flashy player and his ability in attack showed, with some well-timed offloads. Played a hand in some early tries that put the Barbarians on the front foot.


16. Anaru Rangi - N/A

With just 16 minutes on the field, didn’t have much time to make an impact.

17. Ben Alexander - N/A

Not enough time to make a judgement.

18. Salesi Manu - N/A

Played just six minutes.

19. Matt Philip - 7

Played nearly a half of rugby and was his typical consistent self. Will be interesting to see where he lands in 2018.

20. Kane Koteka - 6.5

Was pretty good in his time on the field, making an impact in defence and winning a turnover.

21. Theo Strang - N/A

Played just six minutes.

22. Sam Greene - N/A

Played just six minutes.

23. Andrew Kellaway - N/A

Didn’t make it on.