LONDON – South African Elton Jantjies landed a drop goal late in the match to add the final polish to a remarkable comeback by the Barbarians in beating Argentina 38-35 at Twickenham on Saturday.
The match provided early seasonal pantomime knockabout fare in typically crowd-pleasing Barbarians style.
Their last foray at RFU headquarters had added to England and Eddie Jones’ post-Six Nations depression, when a Chris Ashton hat trick contributed to a 63-45 humbling.
The Barbarians’ invitational team has been playing national sides on a regular basis since 1948.
This time there was a preponderance of South Africans in the line-up – coached by Springboks boss Rassie Erasmus – and for a while, the Barbarians looked to be heading for heavy defeat.
Tries by Matias Orlando, Ramiro Moyano, captain Pablo Matera and Sebastian Cancelliere saw them open up a 28-7 lead – former Pumas great Juan Manuel Leguizamon touching down for the Baabaas.
A penalty try and a score from Bok captain Siya Kolisi reduced the deficit to 28-21.
Julian Montoya scored for Argentina, but tries from South African duo Damian de Allende and Lood de Jager, and Jantjies’ late kick, sealed a thrilling win.
“It’s a massive privilege representing this historic club,” said De Jager.
“The guys just went out there and put everything on the line, and it’s good to get a win.
“One thing that’s always guaranteed from a Baabaas side is team spirit.”
S P E C I A L ⚫️⚪️🐑 🏆 pic.twitter.com/OWdDr65KHw— Sikhumbuzo Notshe (@notshe8) December 1, 2018
For Matera and his players, it was a disappointing way to end their northern hemisphere tour, which yielded little in the way of results – they lost to Six Nations champions Ireland, France and Scotland – but fatigue would have played a role coming off the Rugby Championship.
“This is not the way we wanted to end the tour,” said Matera, who head coach Mario Ledesma appointed skipper for the tour.
“The result is not what we expected, but it was a good year for us if you see it in general (they recorded wins over Australia and South Africa in The Rugby Championship).
“We are growing a lot as a team and we are on a good path,” added the 25-year-old loose forward.