Whatever type of entertainment you put on , you hope that the people who came to watch it leave feeling satisfied. The match that these players in the Wallaby and Barbarian tops produced was a very enjoyable, fun game to have witnessed.
With the Barbarians seemingly out of the game well into the second half and trailing by 19 points as a spectator you felt that the scratch team were being overcome by a team used to playing week in week out with one another sticking to their structures at a point in the game when bodies are tired and the game gets more loose but they were not.
Frank Halai and Sarel Pretrious both showing incredible commitment scrambling back in defence and bringing down almost certain try scorers. The attack was just as committed. Not just a case of a brave show. These Baabaa’s could manufacture and score tries often originating deep in their own 22.
This is what you get when you select players desperate to use any opportunity to make such an impression that their respective coaches take notice of them. In a sense a last ditch effort to make their respective World Cup squads. Coupled with a licence to have a go and a nothing to lose attitude, it turned out to be a recipe for an exciting Baabaa’s team.
The first of the comeback tries was scored by the ‘Honeybadger’ Nick Cummins. To some of us that don’t know an awful lot about this guy it may have been another try by another star but it was meat, a meatpie. The Honeybadger enjoys an almost cult like status Down Under, so a more popular try, at a turning point in the second half, could not have been scored.
The try in itself was unique. The Honeybadger coming off his wing and hitting a line off his fly-half’s shoulder , the half gap being created by the midfield compacting together and then becoming dummy runners while the ball got popped into the hands of the full speed winger straight through the hole in defence and a dive to finish off.
On closer inspection what looked like a set move was actually a bit more calamitous than initially thought. Nick Cummins coming off his wing and actually handing off his own player to make room for himself to run into the gap. The only player who seemed to know what he was doing was the Honeybadger.
Michael Cheika was all smiles in his post match interview. When enquired whether Michael Cheika would consider the Honeybadger for Wallaby selection. Cheika had a bit of a chuckle alluding to how well liked the Honeybadger is by Aussie’s but then answered ‘when he is wearing Australian colours then he will be selected for the Wallabies’
Talking of Wallaby selection it would seem like a number of players in the starting 15, who were selected to see if they could break into or back into the starting Test 15 failed to do so.Will Genia was far from his best, Quade Cooper is not quite up to his optimum . James Horwill , Ben Alexander and Ben Robinson now seem to be second choice players. Henry Speight never got all that many opportunites.
Bernard Foley, James Slipper, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne and Tevita Kuridrani were very impressive.Off the bench young Sean McMahon giving an indication that Australia’s next generation is starting to breakthrough.
It was a game with two excellent sides entering into the spirit of Baabaas free flowing exciting rugby. It also was a game in which individuals stood out. Matt Todd showing the required work rate of an All Black third choice openside.Colin Slade razor sharp and in control. Francis Saili having a barnstormer of a game. In fact all the Kiwis were impressive Frank Halai , Steven Luatua and Dominic Bird contributing significantly. Young Thomas du Toit showing Hulk like strength in jackaling a ball the player on the ground was not about to give up easily.
Maybe the reason Michael Cheika was so pleased was that his Wallabies had come through with flying colours. It is everyone’s favourite pastime doing a bit of Aussie bashing but its all in good fun .They have had a number of high profile unwanted and detrimental incidents in recent years. I feel it’s admirable the way despite the setbacks they keep moving in the right direction. They are definitely contenders for next year’s World Cup.They seem to be confident and focussed for the tour matches ahead and they seem to be happy and enjoying their rugby.