International Rugby: Australia v Barbarians

A second strength Australian team will take on a Barbarians side that features a plethora of their fellow countrymen at the MCG this Saturday morning.

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Quade Cooper and his fellow Barbarians will be looking to give a rather makeshift Wallabies outfit a run for their money when the two sides lock horns at the Melbourne Cricket Ground this Saturday. There are a whole host of first stringers missing for the home side, while the Barbarians are kind of lacking international flavour due to both Mitre 10 and Currie Cup finals taking place this weekend.

Australia v Barbarians | Saturday 28 October | Melbourne Cricket Ground | 11:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Australia 2/10 | Draw 28/1 | Barbarians 36/10

This is your quintessential Australian B-side with household names such as Michael Hooper and Bernard Foley being given a week's leave prior to the Wallabies end of the year tour of Europe. There is a smattering of star quality, however, with Israel Folau set to play his final competitive game of the year, after Michael Cheika announced that his star man will be handed a rest when his teammates head North.

Folau will shift to the wing for this one with returning Reds utility back, Karamichael Hunt, assuming the fullback role. The duo will provide some much-needed International experience, with the Wallabies set to hand Billy Meakes and Duncan Paaia'uua their first caps as their set to debut for the hosts.

In the forward pack, there are starts for Lopeti Tomani and Lukan Tui, while impressive flanker Jack Dempsey is one of only two players who showed up against New Zealand last week that have been retained - Israel Folau is the other.

Can you really call this a Barbarian side? I mean it's not the usual International flavour we are used to with the squad being made up mainly of Australasians. That's not to say they're not a quality bunch. I mean you just need to look at their 9, 10, and 12 to know how good they could possibly be.

The Baa Baas half-back pairing of Augustine Pulu and Quade Cooper could prove to be a real handful for the hosts. They will need to build their understanding extremely quickly but if the duo fire, then expect the Barbarians to score a plethora of points, especially with blockbuster centre George Moala outside Cooper.

The visitors forward pack is a slight cause for concern, however. Their second-row is far from world class which means they may well concede a lot of lineout balls. While they do have an extremely experienced loose trio, it must be noted that all two of three are in their mid-thirties and one of them has already retired from the game.

Verdict: Barbarians 36/10
The Wallabies may head into this one off the back of a marvellous victory over the All Blacks but one has to understand that the team that will turn out this weekend is completely different to the one that did duty last against the All Blacks. While I won't be throwing the house on it, I will definitely be having a small strike on the visitors to take the spoils against the Aussie 'B-side'.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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