Eddie Jones suffers another defeat against Wales
MATCH REPORT: Eddie Jones and his Wallabies have ridden again in the guise of the Barbarians – but, alas, the result was just the same for rugby’s favourite pantomime villain.
Five days after quitting as Australia coach amid a rare old tumult, Jones was back to oversee 10 of his former Wallabies in the famous invitation side on Saturday to play Wales in Cardiff but ended up presiding over a 26-49 defeat.
There was a crescendo of boos from the 53,271 crowd each time Jones’s face appeared on the big screen in the Millennium Stadium, which seemed to give a lie to the observation from his wife earlier in the week that “the Welsh people are nice to you, aren’t they?”
Ultimately, just as six weeks ago when the Welsh crushed Australian World Cup dreams in Lyon with a 40-6 drubbing, Warren Gatland again trumped his old sparring partner Jones, albeit in a very different cavalier, 11-try exhibition affair.
It has to be said Jones probably got more out of his hastily-assembled side, who showed plenty of the famed BaaBaas’ attacking style, than he got out of Australia in France.
And, ironically, his black-and-white hooped Wallabies really shone, with Tom Hooper scoring one of their four tries, replacement prop Angus Bell’s rampaging run leading to another and Rob Valetini thundering around to great effect.
Taniela Tupou was fabulous on the rampage both early and late, while missing a large chunk of the game with injury.
Yet the day really belonged to the BaaBaas captain Alun Wyn Jones, the Welsh giant making his farewell to the international scene against the team he captained with such distinction.
He even bowed out with a try and the man of the match award, as the crowd rose to him and two other departing Welsh stalwarts, Leigh Halfpenny, who kicked five out of five conversions for the home side, and Justin Tipuric, who foraged splendidly for the BaaBaas.
Coach Jones had insisted his side, featuring Welsh, New Zealand, Fijian and Argentine talent as well eight of his Wallabies’ squad from the World Cup, plus the discarded Michael Hooper and Len Ikitau, were not out for “revenge” at the Millennium Stadium.
Instead, he had shut out all the furore surrounding his controversial Wallabies’ departure and reckoned he was looking forward to a fixture that was just a “celebration of rugby” on an emotional day.
He got what he wanted, with both sides throwing the ball around with rare abandon and plenty of outlandish offloads and unlikely attacks from deep, as the Welsh scored seven tries – two from Kieran Hardy and others from Dewi Lake, Tom Rogers, Sam Costelow, Taine Plumtree and Aaron Wainwright.
Hooper, Jones and a double from Fijian scrumhalf Simione Kuruvoli were the BaaBaas’ try-scorers.
Proceedings had earlier been marred, though, by news that one of the Barbarians, Fijian replacement lock Api Ratuniyarawa, had been withdrawn from the squad after appearing in court in Cardiff just hours before the match on sexual assault charges.
Ratuniyarawa denied the alleged offences that were said in court to have happened at a Cardiff city centre nightclub earlier in the week when he was on a night out with the team.
Tries: Lake, Rogers, Costelow, Plumtree, Wainwright, Hardy 2
Cons: Halfpenny 5, Evans 2
Tries: Kuruvoli 2, Jones, Hooper
Cons: Sanchez 2, Donaldosn
Yellow card: Adam Beard (Wales, 11′ – cynical play, playing the ball on the ground)
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 George North, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Jac Morgan (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Ben Carter, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Corey Domachowski.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Teddy Williams, 20 Taine Plumtree, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Cai Evans, 23 Mason Grady.
Barbarians: 15 Ilasia Droasese, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Izaia Perese, 11 Selestino Ravutaumada, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Simione Kuruvoli, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Rob Leota, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Angus Bell, 17 Asafo Aumua, 18 Peni Ravai, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Tom Hooper, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Ben Donaldson, 23 Andrew Kellaway.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy), WRU appointment
TMO: WRU appointment