Australian Schools: Scrappy Barbarians rally to secure come-from-behind win over Samoa
Photo: Paul Seiser/SPA Images
Initially they fell into the trap of letting their Samoan counterparts dictate terms, but the Australian Schools Barbarians rallied to secure an eight-point, come-from-behind victory at Sydney’s Knox Grammar School on Wednesday night.
The visitors, well-prepared after a three lead-up games, shot to a 10-nil lead inside the first five minutes of the clash, which is the only international schoolboys fixture on Australian soil this year.
The Samoans’ first-up penalty goal was followed by a Tomasi Misifoa try, the barnstorming winger rolled over all but untouched from the resulting kick-off.
Eventually the Barbarians found their feet though, eliminating their scrappy errors and building on the back of their powerful set-piece play.
Their first try came from the back of a rolling maul in the 15th minute, although Samoa did extend their lead with a 37-metre drop goal not long after.
The Australians hit back again before the half-time break though with a quick-fire double from St Edmund’s College winger Junior Tupou.
The Canberra-based flyer was the Barbarians’ best on ground despite a scary moment late in the game.
After landing on his head earlier the game and being on the end of an off-the-ball shoulder charge, Tupou was concussed with around 10 minutes remaining in the game and suffered convulsive seizures.
The up-and-coming winger is reportedly recovering well in hospital though.
The Australians built on that momentum early in the second half when Joey’s centre Dan O’Brien crashed over, extending the Barbarians’ lead to 31-16.
Samoa hit back not long after when prop Gafa Matthew Nanu burrowed his way over, and after the successful conversion the Barbarians held their line to record a five-point win.
The clash was a scrappy one and Barbarians head coach Dan Hawke admitted his side were disappointed with their performance despite the victory, but encouraged his troops to take it on as a good learning experience.
Ben McGee, the Australians’ lineout specialist and assistant coach, added to Hawke’s comments and made sure to highlight his side’s dominance at the set-piece.
“I’m happy with the forwards, they did what we trained to do and they dominated that aspect of the game,” he said.