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Barbarians FC and All Blacks XV serve up a thriller in another first for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Mon 14 November 2022, 10:30|Tottenham Hotspur

Barbarians FC and All Blacks XV thrilled fans in a 10-try festival of rugby as the Barbarians held on for a 35-31 win to lift the Killik Cup in another first for Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

This was the first international rugby union match at our world-class venue and these two giant names of the game delivered in style for over 35,000 fans in north London.

First up, a sporting site to behold under our famous cockerel as the All Blacks performed the first 'Haka' on our hallowed turf, the traditional Maori dance performed first by the New Zealand Native team in 1888, and by the All Blacks since 1905.

The Barbarians are a British-based, invitational team that first played in 1890, and the players who stepped out in N17 on Sunday certainly produced a performance encapsulating their traditions - flair, courage, spirit and passion.

The game went down to the wire. Trailing 35-24 and down to 14 men with Shaun Stevenson yellow carded, the All Blacks showed their spirit to reduce the arrears to 35-31 thanks to a try from Bailyn Sullivan with eight minutes remaining. The All Blacks were camped inside the Barbarians' five-metre line for the last five minutes but crucially lost their own line-out inside the final minute, allowing the Barbarians to kick into touch as the clock reached 80 minutes to secure victory.

It was a rollercoaster of a match, with the lead changing hands an incredible eight times.

Bryce Heem went in first for the All Blacks, Zach Mercer responded for the Barbarians, Josh Dickson made it 10-7 for the All Blacks, Lekima Tagitagivalu put Barbarians ahead again, Alex Nankivell went in from a line-out to restore All Blacks' lead only for Joe Marchant to find the corner for 19-17 in Barbarians' favour, brilliantly converted by the outstanding boot of Antoine Hastoy for Barbarians to lead 21-17 at half-time.

The second half followed the same pattern. Stevenson brilliantly finished for the All Blacks, converted by Damian McKenzie for 24-21 only for Barbarians to respond with the try of the match from Teddy Thomas, who chased his own kick, knocked it down the line for Marchant who, on being tackled just short, managed to throw the ball back into the path of supporting Thomas to finish. Hastoy converted again for 28-24 and Barbarians were soon back in business as a clever dummy from Rhys Webb produced a try, converted by Ihaia West this time for a 35-24 lead.

Of course, All Blacks weren't finished as Sullivan picked up a loose ball and raced in from 50 yards to set up a grandstand finish and they might have completed the comeback but for that slip from their own line-out in the final seconds.

It was left for skipper Luke Whitelock, a New Zealander with eight caps for the All Blacks, to lift the Killik Cup trophy with Zach Mercer of Montpellier named Player of the Match.