Barbarians 27 Tonga 24
In dreadful conditions with continuous rain falling throughout the game, Thomond Park in Limerick hosted the iconic invitational side, the Barbarians, against Tonga, on Friday night.
The Pacific Islanders opened the scoring in the first few minutes of the game with a try from Leicester’s Ateli Pakalani as he finished off an excellent break from Maama Vaipulu. Minutes later, Fotu Lokotui crashed over the line for the Polynesian side’s second try. With both successfully converted by Sonatane Takalua, Tonga found themselves 14-0 to the good.
The invitation side opened their scoring when ‘Big T’, Taqele Naiyaravaro of the Waratahs, collected a cross field ball and made the try line. Despite the unsuccessful conversion attempt which followed, George Bridge soon added another five-pointer, which out-half Robert du Preez from the Stormers converted, before adding a penalty to ensure the famous old side took a 15-14 interval lead.
Tongan replacement Sione Vailanu, who scored a brace of tries on the night, put his side ahead after he broke through the tackle to power over in the 63rd minute. A missed conversion attempt then left the score 19-15 to the South Seas men.
A converted Jordi Murphy try, the Barbarians third of the night, pushed the Baa-Baas 22-19 ahead with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. Andy Ellis touched down to extended the Barbarians lead to 27-19, as du Preez missed the conversion.
Sione Vailanu scored his second try of the game but the missed conversion attempt which followed saw the Barbarians take the spoils on a 27-24 score line.
What is worrying from a Munster Rugby viewpoint is that prop James Cronin left the field injured after just 9 minutes of his Barbarians debut. The coming days will reveal the extent of his injury.