Hansen hails Fijian spirit

2013-12-01 12:09
Steve Hansen (Getty)

London - Coach Steve Hansen praised the spirit of an under-strength Fijian side as the Barbarians ran in seven tries to ruin the centenary party at Twickenham.

Missing a host of star names as the game fell outside of the international window, Fiji's 100-year anniversary party turned into a one-sided affair in favour of the Baa Baas.

South African duo Bismarck du Plessis and skipper for the day Jean de Villiers both scored two tries apiece, while Duane Vermeulen, Charles Piutau and Tom Taylor also scored for the guest XV.

There was some cheer for the Fijians though as Asaeli Tikoirotuma scored the game's opening try after a mesmerising run by Nikola Matawalu, while Alex Rokobaro went over in the final minute of the game.

"Fiji play the sort of attacking rugby people want to watch and once everyone settled down after the first 15 minutes it was full on," said Hansen, coaching the Baa Baas for the day.

"Both teams threw the ball around and, as I said, there were some nice tries scored.

"The promoters for the game did a fantastic job and we've probably seen a lot of first time rugby people here today.

"It's important, from an England point of view at the very least, that those fans continue to follow the game and I have nothing but praise for the players."

After an energy-sapping end-of-season tour for many of the Southern Hemisphere players on show for the Barbarians, Hansen described the Twickenham contest as a worthwhile exercise, particularly with the World Cup coming to England in 2015.

Eight South Africans and a host of New Zealand players turned out for the Barbarians and they didn't disappoint, scoring seven tries and dominating up front from the word go.

And after seeing 67 000 fans squeeze into Twickenham, Hansen insists the fixture offers a huge hindsight into how successful the 2015 World Cup will be.

"There were a lot of South Africans and New Zealanders in the crowd from what I heard, so hopefully they also continue to follow the game -- it bodes well for the World Cup here in 2015 because you need that support right across the tournament," added Hansen, normally the All Blacks coach.

"We saw that back in New Zealand where everyone came out and supported teams and that's what the organisers will be hoping happens in the next one.

"It's been a great week because we've got to meet a lot of guys we usually pay against and form some relationships with them and talk about life outside of rugby as well as the game itself.

"Plus, of course, I was able to have a look at some of the younger guys in the Kiwi squad in front of a big crowd without the pressure of it being an All Black Test match.

"It was a good game of rugby in front of a good crowd of 67 000, who were able to see some good rugby and some nice tries. I think there were nine scored on the day so they would have gone away quite happy."

Read more on:    steve hansen  |  rugby

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