Barbarians draft in Hong Kong hero O'Connor
November 1, 2010
Wallabies star James O'Connor will line up for the Barbarians against South Africa next month © Getty Images
Australia's James O'Connor is the latest high-profile player to sign up with the Barbarians for their clash with South Africa next month.
The 20-year-old Wallabies winger, who cemented his status as one of the most exciting players in the game with a match-winning try and conversion against the All Blacks in Hong Kong on Saturday, is set to make his Barbarians debut as part of a star-studded back line against the Springboks at Twickenham on December 4.
O'Connor's Wallabies team-mates Drew Mitchell and Will Genia and All Blacks Joe Rokocoko and Ma'a Nonu have also been confirmed for the game with French international fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc another set for his Baa-baas bow. Six Nations Grand Slam winner Trinh-Duc has been withdrawn from France's November Tests due to a hamstring injury he suffered on domestic duty at the weekend, but is expected to be fit for the Barbarians match.
Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom and playmaker Matt Giteau have already accepted an invite to participate in the game along with Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips and they will be joined by All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu, Ireland's most-capped player ever, John Hayes, Italy's Salvatore Perugini, Wales veteran Martyn Williams and Kiwi giant Rodney So'oialo.
Former Springboks coach Nick Mallett will coach the team alongside Alan Solomons but it remains unclear whether they will also be able to call on the services of Welsh international Gavin Henson who was initially unveiled by the Barbarians last month before reports suggested no deal had been done.
The 28-year-old has not played a competitive game since March 2009 but recently signalled his intent to launch a comeback after agreeing a move from Welsh region Ospreys to English Premiership side Saracens. However, he is currently appearing in the BBC television entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing and his ability to prove his match fitness and confirm his availability for the game are dependent on his success in the show.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament