The HBS Barbarians gained solid experience and played well against formidable international competition in the weekend’s second stanza. With a mixture of accomplished and novice players, the Barbarians demonstrated solid skills on both sides of the ball.
The team’s first match against London’s A Side was a tough one. Although the squad matched up easily in fitness and physicality, LBS had a bit more finesse and experience and walked away with a win. Of note were the defensive efforts of Chris “S’N Man” Dervan (KSG) and Santiago “The Wall” Izaguirre (NH).
The second match of the day pitted the Barbarians against the Frenchmen of INSEAD. Playing amidst the permeating smell of cheese after being serenaded with the French National Anthem, HBS played with both skill and aggression. Forwards Jasper “Macho” Camacho (OC) and Chris Staudt (OC) continually pummeled the clearly less fit opposition and gave the scrum half Wen Wei Loh the opportunity to get the ball out wide to the backs. Unfortunately, INSEAD capitalized on the Barbarians’ weaknesses and the 1st half closed with the Frenchmen up by a score.
As the second half wore on, the Barbarians suffered the biggest loss of the weekend when Jeff “Scorpion” Bohl (OB) was knocked out of the tourney with a knee injury. His injury left a hole in the defense that the French capitalized on with two fortuitous scores.
Late in the game the Barbarians mounted a spirited rally. Dave “Too Tall” Burt (NI) placed a masterful kick behind the INSEAD defense and seized upon the opposition’s momentary confusion to score the team’s first points. Unfortunately, time ran out before the Barbarians could catch up.
Sunday’s final match against the London B Side was truly a test of the Barbarians’ mettle. Fueled by caffeine and reeking of Magners and Boddington the Barbarians took the field to find that the LBS B Side had, in fact, quite a few of the LBS A Side. No matter, it seemed, as the squad went out and played one of the best matches of the year. Thanks in large part to heavy hitting by Yon Sog Choi (NE) on defense and great all-round play by John Doran (NB) the half ended 0-0. LBS capitalized on the referee’s cataracts to score midway through the second half; the Barbarians came charging back.
But the rugby gods were not smiling. The Barbarians scored twice in the span of a few minutes only to see both scores called back. Leaving the pitch of heavy heart, the Barbarians nevertheless were able to look back on memories of a great tour, with many new friends both on the pitch and on the town.