Australian Schools: Hawke challenges Barbarians to turn it on against undefeated Samoans

Photo: Alec Camplin

The Australian Schools Barbarians clash against Samoa this week is the only international schoolboys fixture on home soil this year and, as a result, head coach Daniel Hawke sent his side a bold challenge ahead of the clash.

He wants his Barbarians to shine, and prove they’ve got what it takes to be at this level.

The Barbarians outfit, made up of the nation’s best who weren’t included in the Australian Schools and U18 tour of New Zealand, will enter the clash as favourites.

That comes largely as a result of their imposing record against the Samoans, the Barbarians remain undefeated against the Pacific Islanders in their four encounters since 2001.

But the Barbarians’ preparation has been short while Samoa’s has been anything but.

Samoa have been on Australian shores for two weeks and have taken care of Shoalhaven, ACT and Central West Schoolboys sides since landing, the latter a 79-7 demolition job at Bathurst last weekend.

The chance to test combinations through three matches will be a serious advantage over their opponents who have just six days in camp to prepare.

The Barbarians camp hasn’t been without disruption either, with four changes made at late notice due to injuries and unavailability.

Just two of the 23-strong squad have played in an international fixture before but there’s no denying the talent within the group.

Jack Mossman will start at fullback and after a standout season for Scots and for NSW at both the national champions and through the academy pathway, he was largely considered unlucky not be in New Zealand right now.

Then consider the genetic talent, Keenan Timu got to witness his brother Caleb made his Wallabies debut last year and will turn out for the Barbarians.

Hawke said with such a short preparation there has to be a focus on simplicity, and making sure execution is pinpoint.

“The Samoans will break out of their style, like Fijian style, almost like Sevens and the way we’re going to beat that team is by playing textbook footy,” he said.

The clash kicks off at 5.30pm on Wednesday night.

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