Wednesday, June 08, 2011
As was mentioned on Saturday with the Seru Rabeni big hit on Gavin Henson post, the Barbarians edged Wales 31-28 in a scrappy, yet at times entertaining, game at the Millennium Stadium.
While a lot of the focus was on Henson, his performance was mixed with both good and bad. Ospreys coach Scott Johnson said afterwards that he isn't the player he once was, but he can still make it back there with some hard work.
It was another center who did prove some critics wrong though, albeit on a small scale. Former rugby league star Willie Mason, who is on his way to Toulon, showed touches of brilliance as he dwarfed opponents while getting his hands out of the tackle, with two passes in particular that led to Barbarians tries. While he looks rather out of place in the backs, it's clear that the man is talented and given some time, should make a decent impact.
The Baa-baas had led 19-14 at half time, but Wales came back to lead 28-19, before the Barbarians scored, including a brilliant late effort from Isa Nacewa, to take the result. It's their second in two weeks, beating England last weekend at Twickenham.
Not only did they score five tries to four, but it was probably a fair result considering the way the game flowed. Wales were missing a few key players and they did well to give some youngsters an opportunity, but there's plenty of hard work ahead for them if they hope to make inroads when facing Fiji, Samoa, and South Africa in their pool at the World Cup later this year.
"It was frustrating, and we are gutted, to be honest. We let it slip again, and we just cant switch off in these games," said flanker Dan Lydiate. "No-one likes losing. We had five new caps and Stephen reaching 100. We really wanted to win for those boys its not good enough.
"We are going out to the World Cup to do a job, and we cant have lapses in concentration. We need to play for 80 minutes in every game."