Annett experiences ‘fantastic’ night for Barbarians

Warriors hooker Niall Annett admits it was a ‘fantastic’ occasion for him as he helped the Barbarians to a 59-26 win at Welford Road on Tuesday night.

The former Ulsterman was called-up to the squad on Monday ahead of the clash which helped mark the 125th anniversary of the Baa Baas.

He said: “It was a surprise call-up. I was jogging out for training on Monday and the opportunity arose to play for the Barbarians so I jumped at it.

“It was a fantastic evening at a packed Welford Road. Looking at the guys in the team, I considered myself both privileged and fortunate to be involved.

“You want to challenge yourself to be a similar standard to those guys so it was a bit of an eye-opener because they’re at the top of their game and play some fantastic rugby.”

Annett featured in a team of international stars who racked-up nine tries in the win, and he insists he learnt a great deal from his short experience with the team.

He explained: “To a certain degree of responsibility I was thinking I didn’t want to let anyone else down and I wanted to give a good account of myself.

“But it was made easier by guys around me telling me to go out there, enjoy myself and to do what I do because that’s why you’re there.

“Just playing alongside guys like All Blacks’ Adam Thomson, Scotland captain Alistair Kellock and Jacques Botes, who played over 250 games at Sharks, was a huge experience for me.”

Another man in the team was Australian cult hero Nick Cummins, also known as the ‘Honey Badger’.

The entertaining Cummins is known for his hilarious puns during interviews.

And Annett admitted: “He is a genuinely nice bloke. He was quite quiet but when he opened his mouth he had the changing room in stitches. He really is a funny, witty guy.”

When Annett does return to Sixways, he is hoping he can bring some of his Barbarians experience back with him. 

He added: “I learnt a lot from some of those players. It wasn’t necessarily tactics and plays but just the way they are as people, such as how they conduct themselves and why they play the game.

“They go out to play and enjoy themselves. That was how they encouraged me to treat the game and it was quite refreshing to have that.

“I’ll be looking to bring that experience back to Sixways and hopefully with Warriors we can keep on picking up the wins and putting in good performances, starting this Friday!”