Rugby

Habana on fire for Barbarians

2009-12-05 18:43
Bryan Habana (AFP)
London - A brilliant Bryan Habana hat-trick fired the Barbarians to just their second ever win over New Zealand in a non-cap international at Twickenham here on Saturday.

The South African flyer scored two breakaway tries in the first half and finished a close-range effort in the second for the invitational side masterfully led by Australian playmaker Matt Giteau.

Giteau hit two conversions and a penalty, with Morne Steyn kicking a penalty two minutes from time to seal the Baa-Baas' first win over the All Blacks since the 1973 victory that featured Gareth Edwards' famous try.

A second-string New Zealand, lacking the leadership of Dan Carter, scored tries through Ben Smith and Anthony Boric, with Stephen Donald successful with a penalty and conversion and Mike Delaney hitting a late penalty.

It was a poor end to the All Blacks' European tour, which saw them notch up wins over Wales, England, Italy and France without conceding a try.

Donald opened the scoring with a fifth-minute penalty as the two sides felt each other out.

Habana dived in for the Baa-Baas' first try five minutes later after an offload from full-back Drew Mitchell, who had gathered a loose ball when All Black hooker Corey Flynn was isolated just metres from the hosts' line.

Smith hit back for the All Blacks after the Barbarians had been spread too thinly when Giteau was drawn in, the winger finishing off a move set up by a scintillating midfield break from Luke McAlister.

Brendan Leonard produced an outstanding try-saving tackle on Jacque Fourie after the centre had been played through by midfield partner Jamie Roberts, the sole player from the four 'home unions' to start for the Baa-Baas.

But the wind was with the Baa-Baas, and Habana scored his second after intercepting a Donald pass in midfield, juggling the ball before sprinting away, with a brief look around in glee at the chasing All Black skipper Richie McCaw.

McAlister punched well above his weight early in the second-half, knocking Rocky Elsom into touch after the Australian No 8 had gathered a Giteau cross-kick and seemed bound for the tryline.

Crucially, the All Blacks failed to make a 15-minute period of pressure tell, scrum-half Leonard in particular guilty of hogging the ball with the line at his team's mercy.

Giteau stretched the Barbarians' lead to seven with a well-struck long penalty in the 57th minute.

But just minutes later, Boric burrowed his way over after another break from the on-form McAlister set up quick ruck ball down the right wing.

Replacement outside-half Mike Delany missed the conversion.

With 12 minutes to play, Habana bagged his hat-trick, crossing in the corner after Giteau drew two defenders with Steyn providing the definitive pass.

New Zealand opted for a penalty kick to bring the score back to 22-18, but Steyn had the final say, kicking three points after the All Black scrum folded to seal a memorable win.

Final score: Barbarians 25 - New Zealand 18

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