Sunday, 6 December 2009

Spirit of '73

The Barbarians first victory over the All Blacks since 1973 yesterday is being hailed in the press as an example of how rugby can still be played with verve and excitement and a return to those halcyon days of Edwards, Bennett, Williams and Duckham.

On the former point I'd have to agree - the BaaBaas (and the All Blacks to be fair) showed that the current laws do not in fact require that the leather be booted off the ball at very opportunity.

On the latter point, however, I have to say that a bunch of Aussies and Saffas (with the occasional European guest) beating a second-string New Zealand XV has (at least for me) very little significance at all.

I've expressed a view on the Barbarians' place in the modern game previously and, although yesterday's match was fun to watch, I can't say I was hugely bothered about who would win given the lack of northern hemisphere involvement.

If these end of tour matches are to mean anything then agreement has to be reached to include the top players from the home nations. A victory for a British & Irish based BaaBaas team over the All Blacks would mean something to me that yesterday's win just didn't.

Just for the hell of it, and based on who is fit to play at the moment, here's a BaaBaas line up I'd relish watching:

15. Rob Kearney 14. Tommy Bowe 13. Brian O'Driscoll 12. Jamie Roberts 11. Maxime Medard 10. Danny Cipriani 9. Chris Cusiter 1. Gethin Jenkins 2. Dylan Hartley 3. Martin Castrogiovanni 4. Nathan Hines 5. Courtney Lawes 6. Stephen Ferris 7. Martyn Williams 8. Imanol Harinordoquy

Of course, it would never happen...


Bamberio said...

Flanker, I agree with you about the lack of home nations and northern hemisphere players in the Baa-Baas team that faced New Zealand.

I also think that the All Blacks should have paid respect to the Barbarians and not fielded a second string side. The fact they did this made the result fairly meaningless.

More at:

rugbysid said...

Flanker, in this and another recent post you are critical of the amount of (aimless) kicking. I wholeheartedly agree.
Imagine my surprise when I recently re-viewed one of my favourite clips, "that try" by the 1973 Barbarians and counted 3 pretty aimless kicks in the first 33 seconds. I had never really thought about them before.
Maybe aimless kicking has been around longer than we thought.
Maybe it's the great rugby between the kicks, like Phil Bennett's fantastic sidesteps and the great running and passing leading to the try, that helps us forget the kicking.

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anne bebbington said...

Whether they fielded a second string side or not it was very very sweet to see Richie I Live On The Wrong Side of the Ruck McCaw's seriously hacked off face at having to go up to receive the losers medals - sorry what was that? oh yes, Losers!