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Young backs union man Mason


Willie Mason

Willie Mason

Willie Mason

Barbarians coach Dai Young feels Willie Mason has shown enough to suggest he can make a success of his switch to rugby union.

The former Australia rugby league international got his first experience of rugby union off the bench in the Baa-Baas' win against England at Twickenham a week ago, and he caught the eye in his cameo appearance in Saturday's 31-28 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

"It's a big call to step up and play rugby union at the age of 31 but he certainly has the physicality, there is no doubt about that," said Young. "He has the aptitude in both attack and defence and it's just a matter of learning the game."

Mason recently committed himself to the 15-man code by signing for French club Toulon following an ill-fated spell with Hull KR in the Engage Super League.

The 31-year-old has stated that he believes he can follow in the footsteps of All Black centre Sonny Bill Williams by making a successful switch of codes, and there was more than a hint of the Canterbury star's outrageous skills in the two tries he crafted in Cardiff.

The invitational side were trailing 28-19 with just eight minutes to play when Mason produced a lovely offload round the back of a defender to help set up France centre Mathieu Bastareaud for a try.

He then showed a wonderfully deft touch to set up Isa Nacewa for the last-gasp winning score by flipping the ball up to the Leinster man as he was in the process of being upended.

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And Young has been impressed by what he has seen or the past two weeks.

He said: "Obviously he is coming from a league background and if you look at the two tries they were typical league tries where you are running across people's faces and you get in the big right-hand offload.

"You could see how excited he was just to get on the field, he sprinted on the field and he had a big part in that final 15 minutes or so."