Elton Jantjies kicked a drop goal in the 79th minute to give the Barbarians a 38-35 win against Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Barbarians were expected to put on a show as far as attacking rugby was concerned. They started well in this respect, and the finish to the game certainly didn’t want for drama.
Argentina – who were missing several first-choice players – scored four tries in the first half alone. They were well in control and 28-14 up when the two teams headed down the Twickenham tunnel at half-time.
The Barbarians’ intent was clear from the outset. Pieter-Steph du Toit and Schalk Brits were heavily involved in a movement that culminated in a try for Juan Manuel Leguizamon. After just two minutes, the Barbarians had brought the modest crowd to its feet.
They were made to pay for their poor decision-making thereafter. Handré Pollard and Jack Debreczini were both guilty of kicking the ball back to the opposition while the Barbarians were under pressure in their own 22. Those attacking kicks backfired spectacularly. The Pumas didn’t miss out on those chances to score.
Having had less than a week to prepare, the Barbarians were predictably poor on defence. Argentina did well to find space with several well-aimed grubber- and chip-kicks. A good kick-chase saw the Pumas converting those opportunities into points.
A well-executed driving maul saw the Barbarians crossing the tryline before the break. Argentina skipper Pablo Matera’s transgression resulted in a penalty try for the Barbarians.
The decision to complement their lineout drive with more players paid dividends for the Barbarians again after the break. Argentina would not be denied for long, though, with a successful drive of their own culminating in a try for hooker Julian Montoya.
The Barbarians refused to give up. Elton Jantjies kicked for De Allende to chase, and the Bok No 12 showed good hands to collect the bouncing ball and score.
Jesse Kriel provided the spark for the Barbarians late in the match. The centre broke the line and then linked up with Frank Lomani, who in turn found Lood de Jager running through at pace. Jantjies converted to level the scores.
Argentina continued to infringe at the breakdowns, and referee John Lacey continued to penalise them. The Barbarians eventually made their way upfield, and when the opportunity presented itself, Jantjies went for the drop goal.
The ball drifted over the bar, and the Barbarians did enough to hang on for the win thereafter.
Barbarians – Tries: Juan Manuel Leguizamon, penalty try, Siya Kolisi, Damian de Allende, Lood de Jager. Conversions: Handré Pollard (3), Elton Jantjies (2). Drop goal: Jantjies.
Argentina – Tries: Matias Orlando, Ramiro Moyano, Pablo Matera, Sebastian Cancelliere, Julian Montoya. Conversions: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla (5).
Barbarians – 15 Jack Debreczeni (Chiefs), 14 Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton & Italy), 13 Tom English (Rebels & Australia), 12 Damian de Allende (Stormers & South Africa), 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions & South Africa), 10 Handré Pollard (Bulls & South Africa), 9 Leon Fukofuka (Auckland & Tonga), 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon (Jaguares & Argentina), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers & South Africa), 6 Siya Kolisi (Stormers & South Africa), 5 Lood de Jager (Bulls & South Africa), 4 Luke Jones (Bordeaux Begles & Australia), 3 Trevor Nyakane (Bulls & South Africa), 2 Schalk Brits (Stormers & South Africa), 1 Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders & New Zealand, captain).
Subs: 16 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers & South Africa), 17 Malcolm Marx (Lions & South Africa), 18 Anton Peikrishvili (Cardiff Blues & Georgia), 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers & South Africa), 20 Jordan Taufua (Crusaders), 21 Frank Lomani (Rebels & Fiji), 22 Jesse Kriel (Bulls & South Africa), 23 Elton Jantjies (Lions & South Africa)
Argentina – 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Juan Pablo Zeiss.
Subs: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Santiago Grondova, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23 Santiago Carreras.
Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images