Wales v Barbarians
Wales (19) 43
Tries: Adams 2, McNicholl, Owens 2, G Davies Cons: Halfpenny 5 Pen: Halfpenny
Barbarians (7) 33
Tries: Strauss, Bosch, Stevenson, Millar, Samu Cons: Bosch 4
New Wales Head coach Wayne Pivac (pictured), started his tenure in charge with a hard fought victory over the barbarian’s lead by his predecessor Warren Gatland in Cardiff on Saturday.
In front of 62,138 spectators wales showed all they could do attacking wise with a mixture of excellent forward play and free flowing rugby providing try doubles for both hooker Ken Owens and flying wingman Josh Adams.
Although the fact they allowed the Baabaa’s to score five tries against them will be high in the thoughts of new defensive coachs Bryon Hayward and Sam Warburton before the start of their Grand Slam defence against Italy on February 1st.
With the World cup skipper Alun Wyn Jones unavailable due to injury flanker Justin Tipuric was given the duties of leading his country out in this uncapped game as Pivac made nine changes to the side that lost to New Zealand in the World Cup third place play off match.
However it was one of the reminding starts that opened the scoring early doors as some good work from Cardiff Blues fly half made space for Josh Adams to cross for his first of the day, Full back Leigh Halfpenny slotting the conversion over from the side lines to give the home side a seven point lead.
Next up Tipuric had thought he had crossed only for it to be ruled out as Aaron Wainwright was deemed to be off side when Tomos Williams provided the kick through.
This gave the Baa Baa’s the chance to level as Scottish number eight Strauss crossed which was also converted as the match started flair up with a number of incidents requiring referee Nigel Owen to sort out.
Wales were next to cross, Evans again supplying the assist, this time to opposite wingman Jonny McNicholl who was on debut after qualifying through the residency rules. Halfpenny missed the conversion, but Wales had the upper hand and when South African flanker Marco Van Staden was shown a yellow card the Welsh forwards soon took advantage as Owens crossed from the back of a rolling maul, Halfpenny did manage the conversion and they sides went in 19-7 at the break.
With Evan’s continuing to control the game after the restart, Wales increased their lead as Owens again crossed for his second, before the Baabaa’s had a period of success them selves with tries from Bosch and fullback Stevenson that brought the select side back into the game.
After a brief disruption to the free flowing rugby from Wales due to a number of replacements entering the field in a short space of time, the homes side soon returned to their scoring ways as replacement scrum half Davies found the space and the pace to beat Australian flanker Samu to give his side some breathing room on the score board.
From the restart the Barbarian’s quickly took advantage as Wales clocked off and after some excellent build up Sun Wolves prop forward Millar found space close to the line and crossed. The revival continued and when Samu crossed moments later the difference was reduced to just 7 points and with the baa baa’s on the front foot Wales looked in trouble.
However, as the clock ticked down and the Welsh held firm, Halfpenny ensured the home side would be safe with his first and only penalty of the game to give the home side a ten point advantage with only minutes remaining.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets); Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues); Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Tomas Williams (Cardiff Blues); Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (capt, Ospreys), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).
Replacements: Elliot Dee (Dragons), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Leon Brown (Dragons), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Ollie Griffiths (Dragons), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Sam Davies (Dragons), Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues).
Barbarians: Shaun Stevenson (Waikoto Chiefs & Maori All Blacks); Dillyn Leyds (Stormers & South Africa), Mathieu Bastareaud (Lyon & France), Andre Esterhuizen (Natal Sharks & South Africa), Cornal Hendricks (Blue Bulls & South Africa); Curwin Bosch (Natal Sharks & South Africa), Bryn Hall (Crusaders & Maori All Blacks); Campese Maafu (Leicester Tigers & Fiji), Rory Best (capt, Ulster & Ireland), Wiehahn Herbst (Blue Bulls), Luke Jones (Melbourne Rebels & Australia), Tyler Ardron (Waikoto Chiefs & Canada), Pete Samu (ACT Brumbies & Australia), Marco van Staden (Blue Bulls & South Africa), Josh Strauss (Stade Francais & Scotland).
Replacements: Schalk Brits (Blue Bulls & South Africa), Craig Millar (Sunwolves), Hencus van Wyk (Sunwolves), George Biagi (Zebre & Italy), Angus Cottrell (Melbourne Rebels), Jano Vermaak (Stormers & South Africa), Billy Meakes (Melbourne Rebels), Matt Duffie (Auckland Blues & New Zealand).
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU), Assistants: Dan Jones, Gwyn Morris (both WRU), TMO: Ian Davies (WRU).