Wales 43-33 Barbarians: Wayne Pivac begins Wales reign with Baa-Baas win


Wayne Pivac is happy to get his first win with Wales
Wales v Barbarians
Wales (19) 43
Tries: Adams 2, McNicholl, Owens 2, G Davies Cons: Halfpenny 5 Pen: Halfpenny
Barbarians (7) 33
Tries: Strauss, Bosch, Stevenson, Millar, Samu Cons: Bosch 4

New coach Wayne Pivac began his tenure with victory over predecessor Warren Gatland as Wales overpowered the Barbarians in an 11-try encounter in Cardiff.

Try doubles from wing Josh Adams and hooker Ken Owens were complemented by a score from Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl, making his first Wales start in this uncapped fixture.

Replacement scrum-half Gareth Davies also crossed, while full-back Leigh Halfpenny kicked 13 points.

Josh Strauss, Curwin Bosch, Shaun Stevenson, Craig Millar and Pete Samu scored the Barbarians tries.

The pre-match talk had included debate over whether Pivac would evolve the Wales style.

And, in front a crowd of 62,138, there were enough encouraging attacking signs before the Six Nations opener against Italy on 1 February in Cardiff.

Shipping five tries though will give new Wales defence coaching duo Byron Hayward and Sam Warburton plenty to ponder going into the new year.

Gatland goodbye

It was the end of one era and the start of another in Welsh rugby, as Pivac took charge of his first game and fellow New Zealander Gatland bade farewell to the Cardiff crowd after his 12-year stint.

During Gatland’s time in charge, Wales won four Six Nations titles – including three Grand Slams – and reached two World Cup semi-finals.

Warren Gatland on his last game in Wales

Pivas’s new side included flanker Justin Tipuric captaining the team in the absence of regular injured skipper Alun Wyn Jones.

There were nine changes from the team that lost to New Zealand in the World Cup bronze-medal match.

The notable inclusion was New Zealand-born Scarlets wing McNicholl, who qualified through residency this month after spending three years with his region.

Pivac also chose Cardiff Blues fly-half Jarrod Evans after he missed out on World Cup selection.

Ex-Ireland captain Rory Best led the Barbarians team in his final game before retirement, while former France centre Mathieu Bastareaud lined up in midfield.

It was fitting World Cup top try scorer Adams scored the opening try after good work from fly-half Evans. Halfpenny converted from the touchline.

Tipuric had a try ruled out after Aaron Wainwright was deemed offside from a Tomos Williams kick.

The Barbarians retaliated with a try from short range from Scotland number eight Strauss which Bosch converted.

There was plenty of needle in this fixture, with an incident flaring up following a robust tackle on Adams which Welsh referee Nigel Owens adjudged was legal.

Opposite wing McNicholl celebrated his first Wales start with a simple try after another Evans scoring pass, although Halfpenny’s conversion hit the post.

The impressive Tipuric ripped the ball from the Barbarians which set up in a Welsh attack and resulted in a yellow card for South African flanker Marco van Staden.

The Barbarians’ line-out inaccuracy then allowed Owens to dive over for Wales’ third try just before half-time, with Halfpenny’s conversion giving the hosts a 19-7 interval lead.

Evans continued to pull the strings at the beginning of the second half and a flowing move resulted in a second try for Owens, with Halfpenny again adding the extra two points.

Ken Owens scored two tries for Wales while fellow hooker Rory Best led Barbarians in his final game

The retiring Best then left the field for one last time to a tremendous ovation before the Barbarians responded with a try for Bosch.

The Barbarians’ third try, to Chiefs full-back Stevenson, was allowed despite a challenge by Dillyn Leyds on Halfpenny in the build-up.

Wales had been disrupted by a raft of replacements, which included Aaron Shingler limping off with a leg injury.

The home side quickly recovered with substitute scrum-half Davies beating Australian flanker Samu for pace with a smart try.

The Barbarians immediately responded as they again took advantage of Wales’ lethargy at collecting restarts with Sunwolves prop Millar benefitting.

The Barbarians revival continued when Samu strolled over for the fifth try to reduce the deficit to seven points.

With three minutes to go, Tipuric opted to ask Halfpenny to kick the first penalty of the afternoon to cement the victory.

The loudest roar of the afternoon was then reserved for Gatland when he appeared on the big screen as Wales fans said farewell to their former coach.

The match was the second act of an historic double-header with Wales women losing 29-15 to the Barbarians earlier on Saturday at the Principality Stadium.

Man of the match: Justin Tipuric

The Ospreys skipper was given the Wales captaincy and the flanker led by example as usual

The teams

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets); Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues); Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Tomas Williams (Cardiff Blues); Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (capt, Ospreys), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons).

Replacements: Elliot Dee (Dragons), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Leon Brown (Dragons), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Ollie Griffiths (Dragons), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Sam Davies (Dragons), Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues).

Barbarians: Shaun Stevenson (Waikoto Chiefs & Maori All Blacks); Dillyn Leyds (Stormers & South Africa), Mathieu Bastareaud (Lyon & France), Andre Esterhuizen (Natal Sharks & South Africa), Cornal Hendricks (Blue Bulls & South Africa); Curwin Bosch (Natal Sharks & South Africa), Bryn Hall (Crusaders & Maori All Blacks); Campese Maafu (Leicester Tigers & Fiji), Rory Best (capt, Ulster & Ireland), Wiehahn Herbst (Blue Bulls), Luke Jones (Melbourne Rebels & Australia), Tyler Ardron (Waikoto Chiefs & Canada), Pete Samu (ACT Brumbies & Australia), Marco van Staden (Blue Bulls & South Africa), Josh Strauss (Stade Francais & Scotland).

Replacements: Schalk Brits (Blue Bulls & South Africa), Craig Millar (Sunwolves), Hencus van Wyk (Sunwolves), George Biagi (Zebre & Italy), Angus Cottrell (Melbourne Rebels), Jano Vermaak (Stormers & South Africa), Billy Meakes (Melbourne Rebels), Matt Duffie (Auckland Blues & New Zealand).

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU), Assistants: Dan Jones, Gwyn Morris (both WRU), TMO: Ian Davies (WRU).

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