Mallett to coach star-studded Barbarians
September 1, 2009
Italy coach Nick Mallett will take charge of the Barbarians for their clash with New Zealand in December
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- Italy coach Nick Mallett will guide a Barbarians side already taking on an ominous apperance for their match against All Blacks in December.
Mallett, who has also previously coached the Springboks, will have ample world class players at his disposal for the season-ending match at Twickenham on December 5. Two key members of the world champion Springboks have accepted invitations to play -- lock Victor Matfield and winger Bryan Habana -- with lineout king Matfield to make his Barbarians debut.
A classy backline looms, with injured Australian captain Stirling Mortlock confirmed to play, along with playmaking team-mate Matt Giteau and skilful Argentinian Juan Martin Hernandez.
Mallet will be assisted by his long-time Springboks assistant Alan Solomons for the 10th All Blacks-Barbarians fixture dating back to 1954. The last was at Twickenham in 2004.
- Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell has ruffled Australian feathers after he handed out the Springboks' jerseys and gave a stirring speech before Saturday's Tri-Nations clash.
The revelation after the Boks' 32-25 victory in Perth raised the ire of former Wallabies captain Mark Ella, who questioned whether Mitchell should be providing ammunition for the opposition as an Australian-based Super 14 coach.
"I was surprised to hear John Mitchell had presented the Springboks jerseys," Ella told The Australian newspaper. "He has a responsibility to develop Australian rugby and his total allegiance should be with the Wallabies."
Mitchell is employed by the Western Force, not by the Australian Rugby Union. The Wallabies squad included six players - James O'Connor, Ryan Cross, Matt Giteau, Richard Brown, David Pocock and Drew Mitchell - who Mitchell coached at the Force this year.
Force chief executive Vern Reid said Rugby WA gave Mitchell permission to hand out the Springboks jerseys on the proviso he received the approval of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who was Mitchell's assistant with the All Blacks at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
- The Scottish Rugby Union has ensured the national team and Glasgow will have Canterbury strips to perform in this season.
Canterbury Europe Ltd went into administration in July and was acquired by JD Sports last month, but the four-year contract signed with the SRU last May was effectively ripped up.
SRU chief executive Gordon McKie has since hammered out a new agreement with JD Sports thought to be a one-year deal with the option to extend further through talks next year. A separate deal with Glasgow is also set to be announced later this week.
- Loose forward Adam Thomson, his Otago lock team-mate Tom Donnelly and Canterbury utility back Colin Slade will join the All Blacks squad for this week's one-day camp.
The All Blacks will assemble for the training camp in Christchurch tomorrow before heading to Hamilton on Sunday to prepare for the test against South Africa at Waikato Stadium on September 12.
Thomson will provide injury cover in the loose forwards, with Kieran Read recovering from a knock to his knee. Donnelly will again provide injury cover at lock for the injured Bryn Evans. Slade, a Junior All Black for this year's Pacific championship, will provide cover in the backs because of injuries to Conrad Smith (hamstring), Luke McAlister (cheekbone) and Tamati Ellison (calf).
Players attending the camp are: John Afoa, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Wyatt Crockett, Aled de Malmanche, Stephen Donald, Tom Donnelly, Jason Eaton, Owen Franks, Hosea Gear, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane, Jerome Kaino, Tanerau Latimer, Brendon Leonard, Richie McCaw, Mils Muliaina, Ma'a Nonu, Kieran Read, Josevata Rokocoko, Isaac Ross, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Colin Slade, Rodney So'oialo, Adam Thomson, Brad Thorn, Isaia Toeava, Neemia Tialata, Piri Weepu and Tony Woodcock.
- In-form prop Ben Franks has been ruled out for the rest of the Air NZ Cup rugby season with injury, dealing a cruel blow to Tasman's semi-final hopes.
The Crusaders front-rower has suffered a recurrence of the stress fracture in his foot which kept him out of most of this year's Super 14. The latest damage came during last Friday's 28-26 loss to Hawke's Bay, after which he travelled to Christchurch for an assessment.
In his absence, Franks' younger brother Owen has emerged this year to be the All Blacks' first-choice tight-head prop.
- Veteran Northland fly-half David Holwell is in line for a surprise 250th first class appearance after emerging from retirement this week.
Holwell, 34, was a shock inclusion on the reserve bench of the Northland team to play Southland in Invercargill on Thursday. Five months after telling coach Bryce Woodward he wouldn't be available for the Air NZ Cup, Holwell has had a change of heart following a stint of club rugby.