Blogs & Opinion


Miles Harrison:

Most Popular Posts:

Opinion Archive:

A proper Test

Miles looks ahead to a Twickenham tussle

Miles Harrison Posted 25th November 2011 view comments

The Barbarians will take on Australia in a mouth-watering clash at Twickenham on Saturday, which promises plenty of action

Coached by Graham Henry, the Baa-baas include four members of the All Blacks' World Cup-winning squad in Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Adam Thomson and Isaia Toea.

Skippered by Victor Matfield, the Barbarians also have Danny Cipriani and rugby league star Sam Tomkins in their ranks and will need all their pace and flair against a very exciting Australian side.

Tomkins: one-off union appearance

Tomkins: one-off union appearance

Miles Harrison is looking forward to both sides bringing some positive vibes to Twickenham and is expecting a fiercely contested battle.

The ethos of the Barbarians mixed up with the attacking and running flair of the Wallabies... it should be the perfect recipe for a highly entertaining game shouldn't it Miles?

MILES REPLIES: I think that is very true - we have two sides here that will be looking to attack - which is always promising. But, make no mistake, this will feel like a proper Test match. The Australians haven't travelled half way around the world to lose this week in London or, indeed, next week in Cardiff. And, the Barbarians are very proud of having beaten South Africa at Twickenham last year and New Zealand the year before on the same ground. They would love a Tri-Nations triple and the fact that Graham Henry is coaching them rubber stamps the theory that the Barbarians are here to win. Also, we have Graham Henry and Robbie Deans going up against each other again as they did in the World Cup semi-final in Auckland. That's always a rivalry well worth watching.

It's a great coup for the Barbarians and I look forward to seeing a very good rugby player play his part in this match.

Miles Harrison
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Barbarians v Australia
2.30pm, Sat, Sky 3D, Sky Sports HD1 & Sky Sports 1
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

What are your thoughts on Sam Tomkins playing a one-off game of Union?

MILES REPLIES: It's a great coup for the Barbarians and I look forward to seeing a very good rugby player play his part in this match. We know that there is nothing more to read into this - it is just a one-off for this Tomkins brother although Joel has made a permanent switch from Wigan to Saracens. I spoke with Sam after training on Thursday and he confirmed that he had never previously played even one game of Union in his life - so, in that respect, this is going to be worth watching as well, to see how he adjusts. A back three position is clearly where he should be and from what we've seen of him in rugby league, this lad can really play.

This Baa-baas team looks very impressive - with four members of New Zealand's World Cup-winning squad, skippered by Bok legend Victor Matfield and, as you say, coached by Graham Henry. Who are you looking forward to seeing in action?

MILES REPLIES: If I had to boil it down to one, I would pick Danny Cipriani and his return to an 'international' at Twickenham. And, Cipriani could not be returning home at a more opportune time to remind everybody of his undoubted talent.

Of course, James O'Connor will be at fly-half for Australia in the place of the injured Quade Cooper, how do you think he will get on?

MILES REPLIES: James O'Connor is also with the Melbourne Rebels now - Danny Cipriani's team - so it will be some battle at ten from a Rebels perspective but one with a wider appeal too. O'Connor is like Cipriani in that he is full of talent, although the Aussie has been backed by his country's coaching team over his relatively short career. Quade Cooper's injury and, indeed, loss of form is unfortunate for him but it gives Australia a chance to have a look at the highly skilled O'Connor in a position that he was always being groomed for.

Will the captaincy have any effect on flanker David Pocock's game?

MILES REPLIES: David Pocock is an inspirational player and, just like it is fascinating to see Danny Cipriani and James O'Connor at fly-half, it will be fascinating to see Pocock take charge of the team. There is no suggestion that Pocock is taking the job away from James Horwill who led from the front at the World Cup. But, it is a move that should grow the leadership in the squad. I think it is a solid move for a solid bloke who, I am convinced, will rise to the challenge. Gaining the experience will be invaluable for the player and Australian rugby in the long term.

back to top

Other Rugby Union Experts:

Latest Posts in Rugby Union:

Stuart Barnes

Selection issues

England were narrowly beaten by South Africa but it was a gulf in terms of the two management teams, says Stuart Barnes....

Latest News RSS feeds

Moody: Eastmond still main man

The jury is still out on George Ford and Owen Farrell's 10-12 partnership, former England captain Lewis Moody says.

Centurion McCaw 'pretty proud'

Richie McCaw was ‘pretty proud’ to cap his 100th Test as New Zealand skipper with a resounding victory over Wales.

Laidlaw urges caution for Scotland

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw has urged caution after his side rediscovered their try scoring touch against Tonga.

Emergency op for Ireland coach

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt had an operation to remove his appendix in the hours after Saturday's victory over Australia.

Woodward: Stick with Ford

Sir Clive Woodward says England must give the combination of George Ford and Owen Farrell time to develop.

Features

Back Ireland to continue their winning ways

Back Ireland to continue their winning ways

It has been fairly even between Ireland and Australia in the last six meetings, three wins to Australia, two Irish victories and a draw, but recent form comes down in Ireland’s favour, with eight wins from nine contrasting to Australia's three victories in nine.

Complacency is the Springboks' biggest threat, says Thinus Delport

Complacency is the Springboks' biggest threat, says Thinus Delport

The Springboks arrive in Italy with plenty of attacking options, but it is the basics of the game that they will need to get right, says Thinus Delport.

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu explains why Samoa are fighting for their rugby future

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu explains why Samoa are fighting for their rugby future

England see their QBE International against Samoa on Saturday as a chance to get back to winning ways. Having suffered defeats to New Zealand and South Africa, Stuart Lancaster’s men are desperate to get a win and are looking to do that against Samoa.