Barbarians captaincy career high for Al Kellock

AL KELLOCK last night brushed off speculation over his Scotland future and admitted skippering the Barbarians was one of the high points of his glittering career.
Alastair Kellock of The Barbarians is faced by Ben McCalman of Australia. Picture: GettyAlastair Kellock of The Barbarians is faced by Ben McCalman of Australia. Picture: Getty
Alastair Kellock of The Barbarians is faced by Ben McCalman of Australia. Picture: Getty

Big Al’s Baa-Baas were pipped 40-36 by Australia at Twickenham, but the Glasgow hero insisted there were no losers in a contest that was as thrilling as the score suggests.

Veteran lock Kellock, who was snubbed by Scots boss Vern Cotter for the autumn Test campaign, beamed: “What an amazing game that was.

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“I am hugely proud of every Barbarians player for their effort. The level of skill and determination was unbelievable and it certainly wasn’t just an exhibition match.

“We went so close to pulling off a great victory and credit to the guys for the way they dug in after the Aussies took a big lead.

“The Wallabies were brilliant in the 20-minute spell after the interval.

“Both teams threw the ball around. However, in terms of intensity it was a proper Test – really hard. It is always good to learn from players from all over the world, and my guys blended remarkably well when you consider we had only trained twice.”

Quizzed on his hopes of a Scotland recall in the build-up to next year’s World Cup, Kellock declared: “This isn’t the time to talk about that. I was focusing on playing for the Barbarians. I was proud and delighted to be involved.”

Kellock is expected to be back in action for the Warriors in their next Pro12 clash with the Scarlets at Llanelli later this month.

Meanwhile, Australia wing Nick Cummins could extend his Japanese stint into a third year in exchange for a Super Rugby loan move that reopens his World Cup chances.

The 27-year-old claimed a priceless try against his international team-mates, then vowed to fulfil his two-year deal with Japanese club Coca Cola West Red Sparks, but admitted to being “creative” in his bid for a Super Rugby loan deal.

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Cummins must complete next season’s Super Rugby campaign to qualify for Australia selection, and is still in talks to secure a short-term release from his club.

“I would love to be back in the mix there, but I’ve signed for two years in Japan and I’m a man of my word so I’ll go through with that,” said Cummins. “If there’s a chance we can work things out, I’d be stoked.” Cummings scored one of five Barbarians tries in a narrow defeat by Australia, who had new boss Cheika at the helm for the first time.

Sam Carter, Benn Robinson, Tevita Kuridrani, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley and Sean McMahon crossed for the Australians, who struggled for rhythm throughout Saturday’s Twickenham encounter.

Frank Halai, Adam Thomson, Francis Saili and Marnitz Boshoff claimed the other scores for the Barbarians, John Kirwan’s side unlucky not to prevail in the event.

The Barbarians now face Leicester at Welford Road on Tuesday night before head coach Kirwan’s squad disbands and a new group will face the Combined Services in the annual Remembrance fixture in Bath on 11 November.

Cummins, will try to talk Coca Cola into allowing him to stay for the Bath fixture, keen to pay tribute to the fallen. “There’s a Remembrance game against the Combined Services which I’d love to get involved in,” he said. “I’d like to hang around for that, but we’ll have to talk to Coca Cola, again, and gee whizz, we’ll see how that goes.

“A lot of people have got feelings towards that, and everyone’s been told a lot of stories over the years about your grandparents and great-grandparents. It’s one of those special things in everyone’s hearts.”