Habana savours Barbarians experience
December 5, 2009
Barbarians winger Bryan Habana dives in to score a try at Twickenham © PA Photos
Schalk Burger Stephen Donald Fourie du Preez Jaque Fourie Matt Giteau Richie McCaw Nick Mallett Victor Matfield Jamie Roberts Joe Rokocoko
Winger Bryan Habana delighted in his hat-trick show for the Barbarians in their 25-18 victory over New Zealand at Twickenham.
The Springboks star showed his blistering pace to breach the previously impenetrable All Blacks defence and claim the man of the match honour before a 63,554 crowd at England's HQ.
"Scoring three tries against the All Blacks hasn't quite sunk in yet. They were probably some of the easiest tries," he said after his latest eye-catching display. "New Zealand haven't conceded a try in their last two tours to Europe so to score three against them is a real bonus. The Barbarians take us back to what rugby is really about - the friendship and camaraderie. This game was a fantastic spectacle."
Captain Victory Matfield was delighted the current side had joined the fabled class of 1973, who triumphed 23-11 at Cardiff Arms Park, as the only Barbarians teams to have beaten the All Blacks.
"It's an amazing feeling. The whole week we heard about the traditions of Barbarians rugby," said the South Africa lock. "We watched a little bit of the 1973 game last night. It's just amazing. To be part of something that great is awesome.
"The guys are very happy. It's been one of the best weeks we've had as professional rugby players. We played for each other. We had a lot of fun but went out there and played like professionals, putting our bodies on the line to play for the traditions the Barbarians stand for. It was very close to a Test match."
Winger Ben Smith and lock Anthony Boric crossed for New Zealand, who fielded their second string and paid the price with the only defeat of their tour. But Barbarians coach Nick Mallett insisted they could at least take comfort from the knowledge they had thrilled the impressively large crowd.
"A lot of people have been depressed about the quality of rugby on show last month but today we saw two teams who had attacking mindsets," he said. "They defended well but looked to attack. Of course there was kicking - that's a part of the game - but there were also tries."
New Zealand coach Graham Henry declared his side's tour, which started with a 32-19 victory against Australia in Tokyo in October, a success. The All Blacks have also beaten Wales, Italy, England and France before succumbing this afternoon.
"Some guys played well today and some didn't play as they'd have hoped. It doesn't feel like back to the drawing board," said Henry. "We're very pleased with the way the tour has gone. The Test team has re-established itself with some younger guys getting experience."
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