Wales give perfect send-off to Leigh Halfpenny defeating Barbarians 49-26

Leigh Halfpenny announced his retirement from international rugby
Leigh Halfpenny announced his retirement from international rugby

Wales 49-26 Barbarians, Principality Stadium

Wales gave a fitting farewell to Leigh Halfpenny as they defeated Barbarians 49-26 in their clash at Principality Stadium on Saturday.

The game's preparation was marred by arrest of Barbarian Api Ratuniyarawa after charged with an alleged sexual assault on Tuesday. The game's scheduling was also criticised widely by the four Welsh regions as it was played on the same day that also had a derby game involving Scarlets and Cardiff.

Wales made a terrific start as George North provided the break with eventually Dewi Lake going past three tacklers to score in the second minute and Halfpenny kicked the extras. In the 10th minute, the home side lost a player temporarily with Adam Beard sin-binned for an intentional knock on.

The Barbarians made use of the numerical advantage as Simione Kuruvoli touched down but Nicolas Sanchez missed out on the extras. Wales came close to scoring in the half-hour mark but a chip from Rio Dyer just evaded Johnny Williams. Nevertheless, they extended their lead soon as North and Tomos Williams combined to send Tom Rogers to score and Halfpenny improved it to make it 14-5.

Wales managed to get their third try just before the break as an excellent chip from Tomos Williams was grabbed by Sam Costelow, who touched down and Halfpenny was once again spot on with the conversion as Warren Gatland's men completed the opening half with a 21-5 lead.

Kuruvoli completed his second early in the second half after beating a tackle from Tomos Williams and it was awarded after a consultation with the TMO. Sanchez added the two points and shortly Ben Carter left the field for a Head Injury Assessment.

It became a two-point game by the 50th minute as Alun Wyn Jones touched down bringing a roar from over 50,000 spectators in the stadium and Sanchez kicked the extras but Wales extended their lead as Taine Plumtree spotted the gap in Barbarians defence to dot down and Halfpenny grabbed two points to make it 28-19.

The start of the final quarter saw Asafo Aumua sin-binned for a high tackle on Aaron Wainwright and shortly Rogers sent a perfect offload for Aaron Wainwright to score. Halfpenny kicked the conversion from the tee to make it 35-19. In an emotional moment, Halfpenny was replaced in the 67th minute following which Tom Hooper and Kieran Hardy traded tries to make it 40-26.

With the full time approaching, Rogers sent a looping pass for Hardy to complete his second in the game was Wales completed a convincing 49-26 victory.

Team line up:

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Tom Rogers, George North, Johnny Williams, Rio Dyer; Sam Costelow, Tomos Williams; Corey Domachowski, Dewi Lake, Lloyd Fairbrother, Ben Carter, Adam Beard, Dan Lydiate, Jac Morgan (c), Aaron Wainwright.

Reserves: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Harri O‘Connor, Teddy Williams, Taine Plumtree, Keiran Hardy, Cai Evans, Mason Grady.

Barbarians: Ilaisa Droasese, Shaun Stevenson, Len Ikitau, Izaia Perese, Selestino Ravutaumada; Nicolas Sanchez, Simione Kuruvoli; Joe Moody, Tevita Ikanivere, Taniela Tupou, Rob Leota, Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Michael Hooper, Rob Valetini

Reserves:Angus Bell, Asafo Aumua, Peni Ravai, Api Ratuniyarawa, Tom Hooper, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Ben Donaldson, Andrew Kellaway