Nathan Williams has his Barbarians at the gate in anticipation of tonight’s clash with Hervey Bay Mariners.
Nathan Williams has his Barbarians at the gate in anticipation of tonight’s clash with Hervey Bay Mariners. Max Fleet

Barbarians at the gates

BARBARIANS coach Nathan Williams has called tonight’s clash with the in-form Hervey Bay Mariners “the biggest challenge” ever faced by his young team.

In the final round before the Spring Cup finals, Barbarians will come up against a Mariners team that has come up the Bruce Highway and savaged all in its path in the competition’s opening weeks.

“A lot of the guys haven’t been playing that long and this would be the biggest game that they have played in,” Williams said.

“Mariners are a very good team. It’s hard to find a weakness anywhere.

“They are quick all over the field.”

Barbarians, the Bundaberg Rugby Union winter competition champions, played Mariners just once in the year, before the Hervey Bay side went to compete in the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union competition.

The Mariners were clear winners in that one-sided contest.

But Williams was confident the result would not be as embarrassing this time around.

“We had 17 guys at training (on Wednesday night) before I even turned up, which hasn’t happened before,” he said.

“Usually there might be 12 guys there at 6.15pm then a few more turn up at about 6.30pm... the boys are certainly keen for this one.”

After an opening-round loss in the Spring Cup competition Barbarians returned to become a force in the premiership, with convincing wins over Alloway Falcons and Isis Crushers.

“This is our big test. We know that if we turn up defensively we have a big chance,” he said.

Meanwhile Buccaneers coach Stewart Milowski said his side was determined to finish the fixtures in style against Isis Crushers tonight.

“We certainly don’t want to be the first team to lose to Isis,” Milowski said.

The Isis v Crushers match starts at 6.30pm.


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