Classic Wallabies prove too strong for the Central North Barbarians in 38-33 win

A late try in the dying minutes gave the Classic Wallabies a 38-33 victory against a gallant Central North Barbarians side at the Moree Rugby Union Club.

The large crowd were treated to an absolute spectacle with some of the all time great rugby players taking the field, including the likes of Mat Rogers, Lote Tuqiri, Justin Harrison and Radike Samo among the Classic Wallabies side.

It was the Barbarians who scored first, however, with Matt McDonnell pushing through the Wallabies defence to score next to the posts in the 6th minute.

They were dominating possession and field position through the first 15 minutes before Dewet Roos answered back with a try for the Wallabies to make it 7-7.


Moree local Mitch Adams, who was lucky enough to pull on a Classic Wallabies jumper, almost scored late in the first half with a break down the sideline but was pulled up just short, before the Barbarians worked their way down the other end of the field and McDonnell was in for his second just two minutes before the break.

It appeared they'd go in to the break with the lead but David Croft was able to cross the line right on half time to give the Wallabies a 14-12 lead.

It was the Barbarians who got off to the perfect start in the second half, crossing over through Nick Smith in the 34th minute on the back of some slick passing to take the score to 19-14.

Tuqiri had a fantastic chance to answer back three minutes later with Rogers creating an overlap but Tuqiri couldn't hold onto the pass with no one in front of him.

Josh Walker, another local who pulled on the green and gold jersey, had a dream come true when he scored a try to even the score at 19-19 with 20 minutes left.

Mark Chisolm crossed for a try shortly after to give the Wallabies a seven-point lead but the Barbarians hit straight back through Cameron Rogers to make it 26-26.

The Wallabies took back the lead through another Moree local Nathan Ebbett in the 49th minute but again the Barbarians were able to respond with a try to Ben Williams to give them a 33-31 lead with just over seven minutes left.

It appeared the Barbarians might be able to hold on for a stunning victory but a late break by Samo gave the Wallabies some good field position, which they turned into points through a Bill Johnston try handing the Wallabies the 38-33 win.

Classic Wallabies captain Mat Rogers said it was a great game to be a part of.

"It was a bloody tough game," he said.

"It was a bit harder than what I would've liked, but it was a good contest for all the people that came out.

"I think we're gonna be a bit sore and sorry tomorrow."

Rogers credited the Central North Barbarians for making it such a close contest.

"They were great, they certainly came ready to play, they played some good footy," he said.

"There's a few of us that hadn't laced the boots on for a while, the intensity got to us early but we rallied."

Barbarians captain Damien Kelly said it was a great opportunity for him and his team to be able to play against some of the all time greats.

"It was good, it was an entertaining game, 38-33, so it would've been good for the crowd," he said.

"It wasn't so good for some of us older fellers that had to do a bit of running but they were as tired as us, was pretty happy about that.

"You could see they're highly skilled, just maybe not as quick as what they were many years ago, so I'm glad I never played against them 10 years ago, would've been a different story.

"But they were good. It was played in good spirit, there was no cheap shots or anything like that so it was really good."

Rogers said the Classic Wallabies trip was more than just about a game of rugby, it's about giving back to the community.

"It's really fun. As a professional athlete, when you're playing, its hard to do this sort of stuff because you're just so busy," he said.

"So its good that the Classics are putting a program together that allows us to do this sort of stuff."