Wales 49-26 Barbarians: Alun Wyn Jones signs off with try as he bids farewell in style alongside Justin Tipuric and Leigh Halfpenny – who bags five conversions in memorable Cardiff clash
- Wales secured a 49-26 win over Barbarians that allowed greats to bid farewell
- Leigh Halfpenny and Justin Tipuric played for last time in exciting Cardiff clash
- Alun Wyn Jones signed off with a try and man of the match for the Barbarians
This was a celebration for Welsh greats Alun Wyn Jones, Leigh Halfpenny and Justin Tipuric as they all turned out for a final time at international level in front of their adoring public.
But the pre-match revelation that Fiji lock Api Ratuniyarawa – who had due to be on the bench for the Barbarians at Principality Stadium – had appeared in Cardiff Magistrates’ Court charged with three separate counts of sexual assault made for grim news.
Ratuniyarawa has been charged with penetrating two women with his finger and touching the breast and body of a third woman in a Cardiff nightclub last week.
‘As soon as we were contacted by South Wales Police we co-operated fully, assisting them with their enquiries,’ the Barbarians said in a statement.’On their advice we can’t comment any further as the investigation is ongoing.’
Barbarians coaches Eddie Jones and Scott Robertson didn’t front the media post-match. Ratuniyarawa, 37, denies the charges. He has been bailed and will return to Cardiff Crown Court on December 4. His arrest added another layer of controversy to what was already a disputed game.
Alun Wyn Jones and Leigh Halfpenny bid farewell in style in a memorable Wales win over Barbarians
Former Wales captain Jones signed off with a try as his Barbarians side were beaten 49-26
Api Ratuniyarawa was missing after being charged with sexual assault and attended magistrates court on the same day he was scheduled to turn out for the Barbarians
The fact this match even took place at all angered many given it took place just a week after the World Cup final and on the same day as Wales’ regions were in domestic action.
Ratuniyarawa, unfortunately, added to the negativity. But that shouldn’t take anything away from the feats of Alun Wyn Jones, Tipuric and Halfpenny who have all had fine Test careers.
In the end, it was Halfpenny and Wales who came out on top in what was an uncapped Test.
Halfpenny ended with a 100 per cent success rate from the kicking tee in a Welsh win that saw Warren Gatland’s side score seven tries. Halfpenny was given a standing ovation when he went off.
Wales’ opening try came through Dewi Lake after George North (pictured)’s clean break
Halfpenny enjoyed five conversions on his farwell to go out for his country in style
Wales tries: Lake, Rogers, Costelow, Plumtree, Wainwright, Hardy (2)Cons: Halfpenny (5), Evans (2)
Barbarians tries: Kuruvoli (2), Jones, T HooperCons: Sanchez (2), Donaldson
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Star man: Alun Wyn Jones (Barbarians)
‘To score 49 points means you’ve got to be happy,’ said Wales head coach Gatland. ‘We talked about leaving Leigh on for 80 minutes but we got the opportunity to bring him off.’
‘The reception he got from the crowd was a testament to him as a player and person. For those three players to have that game was incredibly special.’
Alun Wyn Jones, who scored for the Barbarians, was named man of the match as – like Halfpenny and Tipuric – he bid farewell to Test rugby.
‘I want to thank the crowd who have come here for 18 years through the good times and the bad,’ he said. ‘The man of the match was a bit of tokenism. I’ll take it gracefully.’
Halfpenny, who has been a superstar full-back for Wales for 15 years, led the teams out in front of a decent crowd of 53,271.
Alun Wyn Jones and Tipuric followed their former team-mate, this time playing against the country of their birth in the famous black and white shirts. Both were accompanied by their children.
Justin Tipuric also played for the final time, with Kieran Hardy (R) scoring a brace
Jones was named man of the match – seemingly an excuse for him to be rightly applauded for the last time
It was fitting Halfpenny produced a perfect kicking record given in his final Wales game given his remarkable accuracy from the tee has been one of the defining characteristics of his career.
Welsh tries came from Dewi Lake, Tom Rogers, Sam Costelow, Taine Plumtree and Aaron Wainwright before Kieran Hardy added gloss to the score with a late brace. Simione Kuruvoli crossed twice for the Barbarians before Alun Wyn Jones grabbed the most popular try of the afternoon.
Tom Hooper’s effort was a late consolation before Hardy go to work.
Having said goodbye to a host of retiring greats at this fixture, Wales now have to look to the future. The Six Nations could be tough, but Gatland remains optimistic. George North, who had a fine World Cup and another game here, is one reason for Welsh positivity.
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