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LONDON - Jake White's final match as South Africa coach may have seen the world champions lose 22-5 to the Barbarians but he was adamant rugby union's most famous invitational team should continue to play the leading nations after an exhilarating clash at Twickenham in London.
"I think the one thing we must never forget is that rugby union has a history and we must never erode that," said White.
"The way the Barbarians played for the jersey, it was like they were defending for their countries."
There was plenty of running rugby, a quality for which the Barbarians are famed, as they scored three tries through Australia playmaker Matt Giteau, ex-Wales flanker Martyn Williams and Wallaby back-row Rocky Elsom.
However, what marked out this star-studded Barbarians line-up was the quality of their defence, something that hasn't always been one of their strong points in the professional arena.
Despite South Africa, whose team admittedly contained 10 players who did not start in October's 15-6 World Cup final win against England in Paris, being encamped on their line for most of Saturday's second-half, the Barbarians refused to yield as rain lashed down upon an already sodden pitch. Man-of-the-match Williams and Justin Marshall, the former All Black scrum-half, were among several players who repeatedly kept the Boks at bay.
Johann Muller, leading South Africa in the absence of World Cup-winning captain John Smit, on duty with French club side Clermont Auvergne, was impressed by the Barbarians' ferocity. "That was some of the best defence I've seen in my life out there," he said.
Barbarians captain Mark Regan had defied an order from his Bristol side to play in the match, which witnessed England teammate Jason Robinson's last appearance before retirement. Sapa-AFP