Barbarians call on experience
Jerry Collins will rekindle his rivalry with Australia in Barbarians colours in June
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- The Barbarians have named a hugely experienced squad for their upcoming matches against England and Australia. The Baa Baas will be coached by Cardiff Blues boss Dai Young for games at Twickenham on May 30 and in Sydney on June 6.
England's Martin Corry and Josh Lewsey will play for the famous invitational side before retiring from the game, while All Blacks Jerry Collins, Greg Somerville, Justin Marshall, Ben Blair, Luke McAlister and Chris Jack will join forces with Wallabies Rocky Elsom and Justin Harrison.
Barbarians squad to play England and Australia:
Backs: Iain Balshaw (Gloucester Rugby and England),
Ben Blair (Cardiff Blues and New Zealand),
Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster and Ireland),
Peter Grant (Stormers and South Africa),
Doug Howlett (Munster and New Zealand),
Josh Lewsey (London Wasps and England),
Seilala Mapusua (London Irish and Samoa),
Justin Marshall (Saracens and New Zealand),
Luke McAlister (Sale Sharks and New Zealand),
Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers and Ireland),
Sonny Bill Williams (Toulon),
Dimitri Yachvilli (Biarritz Olympique and France)
Forwards: Serge Betsen (London Wasps and France),
B J Botha (Ulster and South Africa),
Schalk Brits (Stormers and South Africa),
Sebastien Bruno (Sale Sharks and France),
Jerry Collins (Toulon and New Zealand),
Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers and England),
Rocky Elsom (Leinster and Australia),
Justin Harrison (Bath and Australia),
Chris Jack (Saracens and New Zealand),
Greg Somerville (Gloucester and New Zealand),
Iestyn Thomas (Scarlets and Wales),
Paul Tito (Cardiff Blues)
- Welsh referee Nigel Owens will officiate at the Heineken Cup final between Leinster and Leicester at Murrayfield on May 23. Owens refereed last season's final as Munster defeated Toulouse, and is only the second referee along with Chris White to take charge of successive finals.
- Australia head coach Robbie Deans has predicted that the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour will give South Africa a boost ahead of this season's Tri-Nations. Australia travel to face the Springboks in Cape Town on August 8 before hosting them in Tests at Perth and Brisbane, with the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate also on offer as well as Tri-Nations points.
The Springboks will be lying in wait for the Lions in coming weeks, with the Test series beginning on June 20 in Durban and rounding off in Johannesburg on July 4. The Wallabies warm up for the Tri-Nations with a two-Test series against Nick Mallett's Italy and a single
Test against France in Sydney on June 27.
"It will be a massive series against the Lions and coming out of that, the Springboks will be in good shape," he said. "They are also the world champions. So the Test in Brisbane will be a huge challenge and one we're looking forward to as part of our 2009 campaign."
- Harlequins have been ordered in front of an ERC judiciary panel after a misconduct complaint was filed against them for their blood substitution of Tom Williams and fly-half Nick Evans' corresponding return to the fray during the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster on April 12. Evans had earlier limped off injured before his replacement Chris Malone was also replaced due to injury.
Roger O'Connor, European Rugby Cup's disciplinary officer, undertook an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident and has determined that it should be investigated further.The date of the hearing has yet to be confirmed.
- Scotland internationals Thom Evans and Ally Hogg will turn out for Scotland Sevens in the final two tournaments of the IRB Sevens World Series at Twickenham on 23 and 24 May and Murrayfield 30 and 31 May.
- Blues coach Pat Lam is doing his best to nurse his players through the last week of the Super 14. Lam has cancelled a scheduled training session as he looks to keep his bruised and battered squad on their feet for the last match of the regular season, against the Crusaders in Auckland on Saturday. The Blues, occupying ninth place on 31 points, cannot challenge for a semi-final place and Lam sees no point in flogging a dead horse as he is missing 13 first-team players to injury.
"With the number of players we have out injured and others carrying a few niggles, it is not worth the risk nor is it sensible to train tomorrow," Lam said. "I would rather give the guys some more recovery time and we will train later in the week. If we are to be competitive against the Crusaders this weekend - which we fully intend to be - then this is the right call to make."
- London Irish have confirmed the signing of Romanian international prop Paulica Ion. Ion has won 34 caps for Romania and joins on a two-year contract from Bath.
- Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg and Western Force wing Haig Sare have both been cleared by a Super 14 disciplinary panel. The pair were cited after an altercation during the Stormers' 25-24 win in Cape Town on Saturday but are free to finish the season with their clubs.