Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Flying Fijians defeat Barbarians during thrilling encounter at Twickenham

Posted on 16 November 2019 by Hamish Percy

Barbarians 31-33 Fiji

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Fijian backrow Johnny Dyer scored twice in a man of the match performance as Fiji defeated the Barbarians by two points.

With three South African World Cup winners, Ireland legend Rory Best and an abundance of Southern Hemisphere superstars, the Barbarians were always going to be tough to beat.

However, it was the Flying Fijians who came out on top, despite fielding a team which included just three of their World Cup squad.

In true Killick Cup fashion the crowd were having a fantastic time, Mexican waves, ooos, ahhhs, boos, and cries of “BEAST” rang out around Twickenham as both sides put on a fantastic display of attacking, running rugby.

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It was the Baa-baas who broke the deadlock, ex-French international Mathieu Bastareaud bulldozing his way over the line.

The Flying Fijians soon came back with two tries of their own, fullback Enele Malele scoring in the 25th minute before Teti Tela crossed over two minutes later.

The Barbarians retaliated through centre Andre Esterhuizen hitting a hardline off a 5 metre scrum to bundle over. Curwin Bosch added the extras to take the half-time score to Barbarians 12-14 Fiji.

The Fijians started the second half superbly, scoring in the 41st minute. A brilliant offload out the back of the hand by Mosese Voka set up Dyer to cross over.

World Cup winner Makazole Mapimpi crossed over in the corner in the 47th minute before Fiji came back once again through fantastic, fluid offloading to put second row Temo Mayanavanua over.

Dyer scored his second try of the game in the 74th minute after the Fijian’s chucked the rugby ball around like a basketball, offloading constantly.

The Barbarians came back in the last 5 minutes scoring two tries before the Fijians regathered the ball and booted it out to win the Killik Cup.

Barbarians head coach Eddie Jones was disappointed not to get the win but was pleased with how his side played.

“We spoke about it in the lead up to the game, it’s an important game, we wanted to win and we prepared to win,” said Jones.

“Disappointed we didn’t win but I see some of the quality of rugby we played in the second half and I thought it was fantastic.”

Jones thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being Barbarians head coach and enjoyed working with some legends of the modern game.

“It’s a real honour, even to just be able to talk to Rory in an informal way has been fantastic, learning from his experiences, again the same with Beast,” said Jones.

“There is some brilliant young players coming through, you saw the next generation of New Zealand, the next generation of South African players coming through there.”

Ireland and Lions legend and Barbarians captain Rory Best added: “It’s been great, a great bunch of boys with a few characters in there. It has been great fun.”

World Cup winner Tendai Mtawarira (Beast) said: “It’s always awesome to come here, you get to meet guys you usually play against and you become mates for life.

“That’s the special thing about the Baa-Baas, its something that should never be taken away from the game. Yeah it’s a special part of rugby.”

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