Cardiff - Wales just did enough to beat the
Barbarians 30-21 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday in their final
match before a tour of Australia.
It represented a likely last
appearance at the Millennium for Wales greats Shane Williams, playing
for the Barbarians, and Martyn Williams.
By taking the unusual - and in some eyes controversial - step of awarding this match full Test
status, the Welsh Rugby Union paved the way for back-row forward Martyn
Williams to win his 100th cap as a second-half replacement.
Harry Robinson, making his Wales debut, scored a fine try 10 minutes
into the match but the hosts failed to build on the 19-year-old wing's
effort and it needed a 20-point effort from playmaker James Hook, plus a
late Aled Brew try, to see the Six Nations Grand Slam champions to
Wales have not beaten the Wallabies in Australia since
1969, a record they have the chance to erase during this month's
To that end, they have already sent an advance
party of 16 players - featuring most of their Test regulars - Down
Under with assistant coach Shaun Edwards, but a further 18 players from
Saturday's match are due to join them early next week.
World Cup-winner Stephen Donald scored two tries for the Barbarians,
and fellow half-back Richie Rees also crossed, with the All Blacks hero
kicking all three conversions.
For wing star Shane Williams this
was, he assured fans, a definite final appearance before retirement,
after he bowed out in Wales colours against Australia during a 24-18
defeat by the Wallabies in November.
Last week his try two minutes
from time saw Welsh regional side the Ospreys beat European champions
Leinster to win the Celtic League final.
But there were no such heroics on Saturday in front of a decent - if far from capacity - crowd of 57 000.
match was also notable for being Irish referee Alain Rolland's first
appearance at the Millennium since he angered Welsh fans by sending off
captain Sam Warburton in Wales's World Cup semi-final defeat by France
in Auckland in October.