BaaBaas dip into French market for England showdown
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Fabien Galthié has named a star-studded Barbarians team, skippered by Charles Ollivon, to take on England this Sunday at Twickenham.
Fourteen of the XV that will play against Eddie Jones’ side in this pre-Australian tour warm-up play their club rugby in the Top 14, with England lock George Kruis the sole exception.
Three recent Champions Cup winners with La Rochelle have been chosen by the France boss Galthié – midfielder Levani Botia, hooker Pierre Bourgarit and second row Will Skelton.
Also included by the Barbarians are a clutch of Test team stars from Galthié’s Grand Slam-winning France, the likes of wing Damien Penaud, loosehead Jean-Baptiste Gros and back row forward Dylan Cretin.
BaaBaas skipper Ollivon, who was last year’s France skipper until suffering a serious injury, will lead the invitational team from openside.
The Barbarians XV also has a Georgian flavour as Davit Niniashvili, the Lyon wing who clashed with Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth in the recent Challenge Cup Final, and tighthead Beka Gigashvili have been selected.
The Barbarians will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky when it comes to this weekend at Twickenham as their previous two matches at the English rugby HQ were cancelled.
The scheduled match versus England in October 2020 was called off two days in advance after it emerged that 13 players had broken team protocols, while last November’s game with Samoa fell by the wayside on matchday due to a virus outbreak.
BARBARIANS: 15 Max Spring (France, R92), 14 Damien Penaud (France, Clermont), 13 Virimi Vakatawa (France, R92), 12 Levani Botia (Fiji, La Rochelle), 11 Davit Niniashvili (Georgia, Lyon), 10 Antoine Hastoy (France, Pau), 9 Batiste Couilloud (France, Lyon), 8 Yoan Tanga (France, R92), 7 Charles Ollivon (captain – France, Toulon), 6 Dylan Cretin (France, Lyon), 5 Will Skelton (Australia, La Rochelle), 4 George Kruis (England, Panasonic Wild Knights), 3 Beka Gigashvili (Georgia, Toulon), 2 Pierre Bourgarit (France, La Rochelle), 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros (France, Toulon).
Replacements: 16 Danny Priso (France, La Rochelle), 17 Christopher Tolofua (France, Toulon), 18 Sipili Falatea (France, Clermont), 19 Thomas Lavault (La Rochelle), 20 Nolann Le Garrec (R92), 21 Louis Carbonel (France, Toulon), 22 Sekou Macalou (France, Stade Francais), 23 Tani Vili (France, Clermont), 24 Thomas Laclayat (Oyonnax – travelling reserve)
Date: Sunday, 19 June 2022
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 16.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Piardi
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson, Gianluca Gnecchi
TMO: Ben Whitehouse
By Liam Heagney, RugbyPass
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