6 Dec 2009

Habana scores three as Baabaa's deal All Blacks first loss of tour

6:51 am on 6 December 2009

A hat-trick of tries by Springbok wing Bryan Habana spurred the Barbarians to a 25-18 win over New Zealand at Twickenham with the invitational team beating the All Blacks for only the second time in 10 attempts.

The All Blacks had rested most of their first-choice players against a strong Barbarian side but will nevertheless be disappointed to have ended their previously victorious European tour with a defeat.

The Barbarians' only other win over the All Blacks was the 1973 success in Cardiff, highlighted by the most famous try in rugby, scored by Gareth Edwards.

Today's match in front of 65,000 fans, could not match that brilliance but after much of the dull fare served up in many of the November internationals it was played with a refreshing commitment to attack.

A smart break by Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell set up Habana's first score.

He then pinched a 70-metre interception before capping a memorable afternoon with a sharp finish and then departing the field to a standing ovation after 70 minutes.

Hugely impressive Wallaby first five Matt Giteau converted two of the tries and scored a penalty, with South Africa's Morne Steyn sealing the win with a second penalty late in the game.

The All Blacks, who had not conceded a try in their four wins over Wales, Italy, England and France, scored tries through Ben Smith and Anthony Boric but their shadow side were unable to hold off their experienced opponents.