With just one international schoolboy fixture on home soil in 2019, the Australian Barbarians side are priming to show they’ve got what it takes to perform in the international arena.
That’s the bold challenge set by coach Daniel Hawke as the side primes to take on the some of Oceania’s top junior talent.
The Australian Barbarians will take on an undefeated Samoan Schools at Knox Grammar on Wednesday evening at 5:30 in the final leg of the Pacific Islanders four match tour.
Formerly known as ‘Australia A’ the ‘BaaBaas’ side is made of the best players from the ASRU National Championships that were held in July, with the exception of those that were chosen for the Australian Schools & U18 side currently touring New Zealand.
Former schoolboy Barbarians players include Michael Hooper, Dane Halett-Petty and Will Genia that are now plying their trade at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Australian Barbarians sides are undefeated against Samoa in four encounters since 2001.
Again the Australians will go in favourites with on Wednesday but Samoa has had a strong regional tour against the Shoalhaven Barbarians, ACT Schools and Central West Schools to sharpen them for their grand finale.
The chance to test combinations and grow as a playing group through three matches will be a serious advantage over their opponents who have just six days in camp to prepare.
Coach Dan Hawke said, “The Samoans will break out of their style, like Fijian style, almost like Sevens and the way we’re going to beat that team is by playing textbook footy.”
And the Barbarians camp hasn’t been without disruption though with four changes made at late notice due to injuries and unavailability.
One of these was fullback Jasper Mellish from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast who was called up on Friday morning while visiting family two hours away was asked to make it to Sydney by evening.
Just two of the 23 squad members have played in an international fixture before but that does not mean there is any shortage of talent.
Starting at fullback on Wednesday night will be Jack Mossman who has had a standout season for The Scots College as well as for NSW at the Nationals and in the academy pathway. Mossman narrowly missed selection but his natural flair with ball in hand will make life tricky for the Samoan attack on Wednesday.
And there’s no lack of genetic gifting in the side either. Zac Barnabas and is the grandson of Trevor, one of Australia’s greatest sailors whilst fellow flank, Keenan Timu got to witness his brother Caleb made his Wallabies debut last year.
Both have had very strong seasons including a good National titles campaign where crafty Barnabas squared up against big hitting Timu in the Championships final.
But with both now on the same side they will be very threatening together.
Kick-off is at 5:30 at Knox Grammar and can be viewed live via the Australian Schools Rugby Facebook page.