All Blacks' Whitelock bows out as Barbarians beat Fiji

Sat, Jun 22, 2024, 11:51 PM
by AAP
Sam Whitelock celebrates a win over Fiji with the Barbarians. Photo: Getty IMages
Sam Whitelock celebrates a win over Fiji with the Barbarians. Photo: Getty IMages

Former All Blacks skipper Sam Whitelock has signed off his career in fitting style, leading the Barbarians to a 45-32 win over Fiji in a thrilling clash at Twickenham. 

The 35-year-old forward, twice a World Cup winner with New Zealand, received a rousing round of applause from all corners of the stadium in southwest London as he left the field late on.

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Whitelock gave an assured performance at lock alongside England international David Ribbans against a free-flowing Fiji team coach by Australian Mick Byrne.

The impressive Fijians were led by a hat-trick from Epeli Momo, who plays in Super Rugby Pacific with the Drua, but fell short in a breathless encounter.  

Former England winger Jonny May scored twice for the Barbarians, whose other tries came from Lachlan Boshier (two), Chay Fihaki, Zach Mercer and New Zealand international Leicester Fainga'anuku.

Boshier opened the scoring in the 18th minute before the Fijians hit back through their expansive attack and Momo

They scored twice before tries to May and Fainga'anuku levelled the scores at the break.

Both wingers crossed once again before Momo's hat-trick got the Fijians back into the match.

A try and penalty to Kemu Valetini gave Fiji the lead late, only for two late tries to give the Barbarians the win,

Also included for the Barbarians were Gold Coast-born Jack Cornelsen - the son of 1970s and 1980s Wallaby Greg Cornelsen - who represents Japan at international level, and former Wallabies prop Scott Sio. 

The star-studded Baa-Baas - coached by ex-Wallabies mentor Robbie Deans - were pushed hard by Fiji, with Momo's three tries added to by Kemueli Valentini's 10 points and seven more from five-eighth Caleb Muntz.

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