Irish stars to play for NZ Barbarians
June 2, 2010
John Afoa will switch to hooker for the New Zealand Barbarians © Getty Images
Two Irish internationals will play for New Zealand Barbarians against New Zealand Maori at Whangarei on June 12.
Three places on the replacements bench have been left vacant by the Barbarians, with two of them to be filled by the Irish players, whose team-mates will face off against the All Blacks in New Plymouth on the same day. There is another interesting move as Blues prop John Afoa is named at hooker at the request of the national selectors. Afoa has 23 All Black caps and is primarily a tight-head.
The Barbarians side will be captained by Otago flanker Alando Soakai and includes 2009 All Blacks wing Ben Smith, who will play at inside-centre, Canterbury utility Colin Slade and Wellington halfback Alby Mathewson, who is coming off a strong Super 14 season for the Blues.
"This is a really strong line-up and I'm looking forward to getting the team together," coach Bryce Woodward said. "We are all about to be part of something special and for these guys, it's a real privilege to be asked to share in the tradition and honour of assembling and playing with the New Zealand Barbarians. We're very excited that in the spirit of the Barbarians tradition, two of the Irish internationals are joining us."
New Zealand Barbarians: Jared Payne (Northland); Bryce Heem (Auckland), Rene Ranger (Northland), Ben Smith (Otago), Fetu Vainikolo (Otago); Colin Slade (Canterbury), Alby Mathewson (Wellington); Jamie Mackintosh (Southland), John Afoa (Auckland), Charlie Faumuina (Auckland), Josh Bekhuis (Southland), Kevin O'Neill (Waikato), Scott Waldrom (Taranaki), Alando Soakai (Otago, capt), Pater Saili (Auckland)
Replacements: Andrew van der Heijden (Auckland), Dean Budd (Northland), Rhyan Caine (Northland), Lachie Munro (Northland), three to be added
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