Habana humbles All Blacks
Brian Habana crossed three times to end New Zealand's 36-year unbeaten record over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday.
By Simon Dilger
Last Updated: 05/12/09 5:17pm
Brian Habana crossed three times to end the All Blacks' 36-year unbeaten record over the Barbarians on Saturday.
The Springbok winger used his blistering pace to its full and devastating effect to help the Baa-Baas to a famous 25-18 victory at Twickenham.
Skippered by South Africa lock Victor Matfield, the Barbarians showed fierce commitment and determination throughout the game to spark memories of their legendary 1973 victory with only a second-ever win over the All Blacks.
Stephen Donald put the Graham Henry's men into an early lead when he slotted an easy penalty from in front of the posts in the fourth minute.
But the Baa-Baas hit back within six minutes when New Zealand failed to pick up after driving over the ball while attacking deep inside Barbarian territory.
Full back Drew Mitchell gratefully collected the loose ball and raced up the touchline before neatly offloading to Habana.
The South African winger gave the All Black defence little chance of catching him on his way to the line and Giteau added the extras to give the Baa Baas a 7-3 lead.
The All Blacks' reply came in the 23rd minute courtesy of winger Ben Smith when quick ball from the line-out saw centre McAllister slice through the Barbarians' defence to set his side up for the try.
Donald made it two from two with his kick to take New Zealand into a slender 10-7 lead.
The All Blacks sought to end the first-half powerfully maintaining pressure on the Barbarians but in the 40th minute the fleet-footed Habana dealt another hammer blow.
The mercurial winger confirmed his reputation as king of the intercept, swooping in the midfield and toying with the chasing McCaw before igniting the afterburners and racing to the line unopposed.
Giteau fired home a straightforward conversion to send the Baa-Baas into the half-time break 14-10 in front.
The first points of the second-half took 16 minutes to arrive, Giteau extending the Barbarians' lead with a fine long-range penalty after New Zealand were caught offside.
The All Blacks took just five minutes to score their second try, the video referee confirming the five points after Boric barged his way through a scrambling Baa-Baa defence.
But Donald's replacement Mike Delany failed to draw his side level, sending what appeared to be a relatively straightforward conversion wide of the posts.
Man-of the match Habana again proved too hot to handle for the All Black defence on 69 minutes, diving in the corner for his hat-trick after some slick passing between Giteau and Morne Steyn.
Giteau was unable to extend the lead any further with a tough conversion from wide on the left leaving the scores at 22-15 going into the final ten.
Delany made amends for his earlier miss, nailing a 45-metre penalty on 73 minutes to draw his side to within four points of their opponents.
But with two minutes left on the clock, Steyn added three more with a beautifully struck penalty out on the right to exted the Baa-Baas lead to 25-18.
New Zealand fought to the death but, with the winning post in sight, there was no way the Barbarians would be denied their historic victory.