Australians get morale booster against French Barbarians
November 17, 2004

Australia A may have scored five second-half tries on their way to a 45-15 victory over the French Barbarians in Paris at Stade Jean Bouin on Tuesday, but Eddie Jones believes the experience and opportunity will prove far more important than the overall result.

Scoring six tries to two, and finishing the match with three five-pointers in the last 10 minutes, the match was a chance for Wallabies Coach Jones to blood a number of young players at international level. Drew Mitchell, Stephen Hoiles, Cameron Shepherd, Anthony Mathison, Stephen Moore, Shaun Berne and Alister Campbell all got their first opportunity in a senior green and gold jersey, and they certainly made the most of it.

Up front, Nic Henderson, Matt Dunning, Moore and Mathison scrummed against a much heavier, seasoned Barbarians pack. "Our young front row probably learnt more in that game than they would in six or seven Super 12 games. It was a great experience for them and that's what they needed," said Jones.

But the positive experience wasn't just limited to the front of the scrum. Rookie backrower and Wallaby squad member Stephen Hoiles was a standout in the lineout and in general play at openside flanker. "He is fast. He can leap and he has good aerial skills and he showed that tonight," said Jones.

"If he works hard he's going to be a very good player for us."

Hoiles, who has played only a handful of Super 12 matches off the bench and a couple of state games with NSW against Scotland and the Pacific Islanders, says he really enjoyed the opportunity against the Barbarians. "I felt pretty comfortable out there, and the guys around me made it pretty easy."
"I was pretty nervous, but I was just looking forward to getting out there because it was probably one of the biggest games of my career so far."

While Hoiles couldn't celebrate his Australia A debut with a try, Shaun Berne and Cameron Shepherd managed to do so, while Mark Chisholm and Radike Samo also scored their first five-pointer in an Australian jersey.

Played in a true Barbarians fashion in front of crowd of more than 8,000, the home team were physical, entertaining and exciting, more than matching it with Australia A for the first half an hour.

They scored the opening try of the match, when winger Phillipe Bernat Salle pounced on an intercept to cross under the posts, but when Clyde Rathbone replaced Drew Mitchell in the 30th minute Australia hit back to lead 10-7 at the break.

The Barbarians scored first in the second half to level the scores at 10-all, only to see an opportunist try from Morgan Turinui under the posts after 55 minutes.

Four minutes later Chisholm crossed for his five-pointer, followed by three tries in the last 10 minutes, including a length-of-the-field solo effort from lock Radike Samo, who outran the cover defence down the touch line.

Captain Elton Flatley celebrated with a perfect goal-kicking record and while the much anticipated clash between Wendell Sailor and Rupeni Caucaunibuca didn't eventuate, with Rupeni ruled out of the match, Sailor and Mat Rogers were solid at the back.

Australia A 45
Tries: Clyde Rathbone 39min, Morgan Turinui 55min, Mark Chisholm 59min, Cameron Shepherd 70min, Shaun Berne 76min, Radike Samo 82min
Conversions: Elton Flatley 5
Penalty Goal: Elton Flatley

French Barbarians 15
Tries: Phillippe Bernat Salles 22min, Alessio Galasso 67min,
Conversion: Gregor Townsend
Penalty Goal: Gregor Townsend

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