Wales down Barbarians

2012-06-02 17:03

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.

Teenager 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 victory.

Wales have not beaten the Wallabies in Australia since 1969, a record they have the chance to erase during this month's three-Test tour.

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.

New Zealand 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.

The 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.