Barbarians win just the ticket for Roberts' father

Barbarians 25 New Zealand 18
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The Independent Online

Jamie Roberts hopes his role in the Barbarians' second-ever victory over New Zealand will help his dad come to terms with missing a match billed as the greatest of all time.

Victor Matfield's Barbarians took their place alongside the fabled class of 1973 by inflicting the solitary defeat of New Zealand's autumn tour with a 25-18 triumph at Twickenham.

As a spectacle, the match failed to scale the heights of Cardiff Arms Park 36 years ago but Bryan Habana's hat-trick in the 10th meeting between the sides gave the occasion a sprinkling of stardust. Roberts revealed that the Barbarians were inspired by meeting some of their famed predecessors who beat the All Blacks 23-11.

And the Wales centre hopes yesterday's result will offer some consolation to his father, Norman, who was forced to miss the 1973 encounter.

"My dad told me before I joined up with the Barbarians that he had a ticket for the 1973 game but couldn't go to it because of work commitments," Roberts said. "It's his greatest regret in rugby not going to a match that has been labelled the best ever game. Hopefully I've done him some justice with this win.

"He wished me well before the match and I'm really chuffed to be part of this. We watched the 1973 match and had a meeting with a couple of old Barbarians on Friday night – Derek Quinnell was one of those there.

"He was involved in that try by Gareth Edwards so it was a privilege to meet him. There were some pretty special tries in that match and we've now added to that collection."

Only captain Richie McCaw, who played for the Baabaas in the win over Australia a year ago, and full-back Cory Jane survived from the All Blacks side which humbled France 39-12 the previous weekend. Most of the team was that which beat Italy 20-6 three weeks ago, and it helped to provide a much more entertaining spectacle in the non-cap match.

Habana's first-half pair of tries, the first conceded in Europe by the All Blacks in nine matches since the 2007 World Cup, sent the Baabaas into halftime 14-10 up. The All Blacks were only two points adrift at 17-15 with a quarter to go and just 22-18 down with eight minutes left, but Morne Steyn's 78th-minute penalty capped a memorable win for the Baabaas.

The New Zealand coach Graham Henry was far from depressed with his side's first defeat on their six-match autumn tour. "It doesn't feel like back to the drawing board," Henry said. "We're very pleased with the way the tour has gone."

Barbarians: Tries Habana (3); Conversions Giteau (2); Penalties Giteau, Steyn. New Zealand: Tries B Smith, Boric; Conversions Donald; Penalties Donald, Delany.

Barbarians: Mitchell (Australia); Rokocoko (New Zealand), Fourie (South Africa), Roberts (Wales), Habana (South Africa); Giteau (Australia), Du Preez (South Africa); Perugini (Italy), Du Plessis (South Africa), W P Nel (uncapped), Del Fava (Italy), Matfield (South Africa, capt), Elsom (Australia), Burger (South Africa), Smith (Australia).

Replacements: Steyn (South Africa) for Mitchell (57), Halfpenny (Wales) for Habana (70), Genia (Australia) for Du Preez (62), Powell (Wales) for Elsom (57), Geldenhuys (Italy) for Del Fava (52), Moore (Australia) for Du Plessis (41), Mtawarira (South Africa) for Perugini (41).

New Zealand: Jane; B Smith, Ellison (Sivivatu, 42), McAlister, Guildford (Thomson, 64); Donald (Delany, 42), Leonard; So'oialo, McCaw (Latimer, 41), Messam, Boric (Cowan, 76), Eaton, Afoa, Flynn, Crockett (Tialata, 67).

Referee: C Berdos (France).

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