Rugby Union: Barbarians of a friendly kind

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The Independent Online
Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

South African Barbarians. . . . . . . . . . .45

THE Springboks themselves will be among us - well, in Wales and Ireland - next autumn and if they play rugby with the panache of their Barbarians they will be far more warmly received than their re- emergent predecessors were in France and England last year.

It is probably asking too much, given South Africa's historic predilection for rugged forward play backed by siege-gun kicking, but a pleasant hope none the less.

This was the Baa-Baas' sixth win in six tour matches, with two still to come in the West Country: against Cornwall tomorrow and Bath on Saturday.

For half an hour of last night's hugely entertaining exchanges at the Memorial Ground there was precious little to choose between the sides. Bristol chose a fast-and-loose style - rather Barbarian in fact - when they would have been better served by something more controlled, but they did gain the lead through a Mark Tainton penalty before the tourists destroyed them with three tries in the 10 minutes before half-time.

The passing of the inside backs created enough space for Simon Berridge, Leicester- born, to accelerate round Stuart Crossland for the first. A missed tackle by Derek Eves on Jan de Beer was all it needed for Thinus Linee's first try, and a tap-penalty move ended with Johan Barnard ploughing through Simon Shaw.

If Bristol's new coaching co-ordinator, Brian Hanlon, was hoping that this game would provide confidence- building preparation for the return to the First Division treadmill on Saturday week, he was sadly disillusioned.

There was no shortage of effort, and a second Tainton penalty followed the next South African try, when for a change it was the forwards leading the attack to drive Johan le Roux over. Indeed, eventually, Bristol had a try of their own when Ralph Knibbs gave a reminder of former glory by creating the opening for Alastair Saverimutto.

But by then it was too late, if indeed the result mattered that much. A wonderful piece of sleight-of-hand by Kevin Putt had led to Linee's second try and there was similar dexterity by Gavin Lawless in the creation of Johan Barnard's second. Finally, the other Barnard, Jacobus, added the seventh to complete Bristol's misery.

Bristol: Try Saverimutto; Conversion Tainton; Penalties Tainton 2. SA Barbarians: Tries Linee 2, Johan Barnard 2, Berridge, Le Roux, Jacobus Barnard; Conversions De Beer 3, Lawless 2.

Bristol: B Whitehead; D John, R Knibbs, A Saverimutto, S Crossland; M Tainton, M Newall; P Smith, D Palmer, D Hinkins, R Armstrong, S Shaw, J Pearson, C Barrow, D Eves (capt).

SOUTH AFRICAN BARBARIANS: G Lawless; S Berridge, M Linee (Western Province), D Muir (Natal), E Meyer (Namibia); J de Beer (Orange Free State), K Putt (Natal); Jacobus Barnard, D van der Walt (Northern Transvaal), J le Roux (Transvaal), K Otto, P Schutte (Northern Transvaal) Johan Barnard (Namibia), D Lotter (Transvaal, capt), A Blakeway (Natal).

Referee: E Morrison (Bristol).