Australian Schools Barbarians out to upset Kiwis in opening match
Australian Schools Barbarians coach David Idstein believes his side has nothing to lose when his side takes on New Zealand Schools in Brisbane on Monday.
Idstein’s squad entered camp on Monday and have had just seven days to prepare for their opening clash against the Kiwis and a match against Tongan Schools a week later.
“It’s always nice going into a match as the underdogs and we will be against New Zealand. We know we’ve got to go out there, rattle their cage a little bit and try and knock them over and if we can do that, then we should create enough opportunities to give ourselves a chance to win the game,” Idstein said.
“We want to embrace that Barbarians style of footy and focus on playing high quality, expansive footy, and have fun while we’re doing it.
“When you play that way and throw the ball around, you’re obviously going to make some mistakes but we’re just focussing on how we recover from that and move forward.”
But Idstein knows his side’s attack will matter little unless they can stop a New Zealand side that beat Tonga 64-0 earlier this week.
“Defence is something that you can work on in a short amount of time. We want to get up off the line as a unit and make sure everyone is making their tackles individually.”
The Barbarian’s squad features 11 players from NSW, one player from Victoria and nine players from Queensland, the majority of which have only just finished their school rugby season.
“It’s been a little challenging trying to find a balance between getting some of the guys from NSW back into playing condition while we try and manage the load of those Queensland guys who have only just stopped playing footy,” Idestein said.
“Our front row has really impressed me. We did some live scrummaging against the Australian Schools team earlier this week and our guys gave it to them. Then in the lineout, we’ve got some real tall timber in Freddy Fewtrell, Harry Fox, Lachlan Dring and Zac Perrin.
“We’ve also got some real wheels in the backs so if the forwards can hold their own and earn some possession, we’ve got plenty of pace out wide so I’m excited to see what they can do.”
The Barbarians clash against New Zealand will be played prior to the Australian Schools match against Tonga and Idstein said there was an opportunity for his players to play their way into the top squad for the remainder of the year, if they performed on Monday.
“The boys have been told that there are still a few places up for grabs on that UK tour but I think we’re just trying to focus on the team performance first and if we perform well as a unit then I think a number of our guys are certainly good enough to earn a place in that squad.
“We just want to play the best rugby we can play, we haven’t spoken too much about results. If our defence is strong and we’re able to play some positive “Barbarians” style rugby, then we’ll be right in the mix.”