Australia summon spirit of 1908 to quell Barbarians

Barbarians 11 Australia 18

The first rugby union match to take place here at the new Wembley Stadium was staged last night to celebrate the Olympic final of 1908 at London’s White City. The gold medal went to Australia and the silver to Great Britain who were represented by the county champions Cornwall. There was no bronze for there were no other competitors.

Cornwall wanted to get one or two of their number into the Barbarians side that took on the Wallabies here last night but their request was refused. With hindsight maybe it wasn’t a bad call. Any suspicion that this centenary match would be treated lightly was dispelled when the Wallabies’ prop Matt Dunning was carried off on a stretcher after the Baa-Baas wheeled and disrupted a scrum. Dunning snapped an Achilles tendon and will be in rehab for months.

It was about the only time Australia took a backward step as they played as if a gold medal was at stake. Missing a number of their experienced, frontline players, they were expected to be up against it. There was plenty of class on show but there is no substitute for team spirit and Australia had it in spades. Even for so called friendly matches the players are now so professionalised they cannot switch off. The Baa-Baas spurned an early, easy penalty but soon realised that if they were to put some points on the board they would take any chance going. After Hugh McMeniman had threatened to decapitate Fourie du Preez with a arm around the throat, the Wallabies launched a brilliant attack which featured great work by the centre Ryan Cross and his intelligent chip ahead led to a try by Lote Tuqiri.

Australia’s great defence meant that try opportunities were few and far between. These boys were not playing for the fun of it: witness Federico Pucciariello’s charge on the stand-off Quade Cooper. James O’Connor, the 18-year-old Australian full-back who looked young enough to be playing mini-rugby, kicked his side further ahead with two penalties, Percy Montgomery responding in kind before half-time. Although the Baa-Baas were denied tries by the ruling of the video official, they managed to register a try, scored by Jerry Collins and created by Shane Williams. And that was about as good as it got for the invitational side as the Wallabies crowned an excellent win with a brilliant counter-attacking try by Lachie Turner. Their reward was the Cornwall Cup, presented by Princess Anne. It should have been the Duchy of Cornwall.

Barbarians: P Montgomery (Stormers and South Africa); J Rokocoko (Auckland and New Zealand), R Gear (Worcester and NZ), J de Villiers (Western Province and SA), B Habana (Blue Bulls and SA); F Steyn (Sharks and SA), F du Preez (Blue Bulls and SA); F Pucciariello (Munster and Italy), J Smith (Sharks and SA, capt), C Johnston (Saracens and Samoa), B Botha (Blue Bulls and SA), J Muller (Sharks and SA), J Collins (Toulon and NZ), S Burger (Stormers and SA), R McCaw (Canterbury and NZ).

Australia: J O’Connor (Western Force); L Tuqiri (NSW Waratahs), R Cross (Western Force), A Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies), D Ioane (Queensland Reds); B Sheehan\[Mick Connaughton\] (NSW Waratahs); T Polota-Nau\[Mick Connaughton\] (NSW Waratahs)</>, M Dunning (all NSW Waratahs), M Chisholm (Brumbies), H McMeniman (Queensland Reds), D Mumm (NSW Waratahs), R Brown (Western Force), G Smith (Brumbies, capt).

Referee: C White (Eng).


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)