Cape Town – The Barbarians have named players from nine different nationalities, World Cup winners and British and Irish Lions in their squad to face England in the Quilter Cup match.
The initial 17-man group includes New Zealand’s Victor Vito and John Afoa, Wales’s Justin Tipuric, Ireland’s Bundee Aki and Ultan Dillane, Australia’s Tatafu Polota-Nau and Sitaleki Timani, France’s Benjamin Kayser, South Africa’s Flip van der Merwe and Argentina’s Ramiro Herrera.
Head coach Pat Lam earlier announced the recruitment of superstar fullback Charles Piutau and former Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw for the match at Twickenham Stadium on May 27.
The side will be captained by Aki.
Lam calls up Dillane and Niyi Adeolokun from former side Connacht as well as Welshmen Rhodri Williams, who is leaving Bristol to join Dragons.
Another former Connacht man, USA flyhalf AJ MacGinty comes in after an impressive season with Sale Sharks and the midfield options also include Luke McAlister, the former All Black who is retiring at the end of this season.
“This is a good group of players with the skill and ability to play the type of game we’ll need to play against England,” said Lam, who led Bristol to promotion to the Premiership this season.
“It’s exciting to be able to select them, they’re all honoured to be involved and they’ll respect the traditions of the Barbarians.”
One Barbarians’ tradition is to select an uncapped player although Clermont prop Loni Uhila is hardly a rookie. The “Tongan Bear” was a Super Rugby winner with the Hurricanes in 2016.
Further additions to the squad will be finalised after this weekend’s knock-out rounds in the Premiership, PRO14 and French Top League.
Rhodri Williams (Dragons & Wales)
Victor Vito (La Rochelle & New Zealand)