The Barbarians will play the national teams of Tunisia and Spain on their annual summer tour, starting with a game in Tunis tomorrow.
The touring party of 25 players, drawn from seven nationalities, includes seven new Barbarians and 13 test caps, and will be coached by Barbarian committeeman and former All Black number 8, Zinzan Brooke. Of the 25 there are three Cardiff Blues players - Nick Macleod, Nick Robinson and Rhys Williams.
This years tour follows recent trips to Portugal in 2004 and Georgia last year. Barbarian secretary Geoffrey Windsor-Lewis said, We are delighted to add two new countries to our itinerary. As well as our long established domestic fixtures in the United Kingdom, our annual trips overseas are proving to be extremely popular with the players we invite while the host countries invariably welcome us with open arms. It is no coincidence that eight of this years squad, including a complete front row of Messrs Fitzpatrick, Azam [until he was ruled out by injury] and Davies, came with us to Georgia twelve months ago and ten have already turned out in earlier fixtures nearer home this season.
He added, In addition to playing two landmark matches, all of the tour party will be involved in coaching sessions with local youngsters and there will be civic receptions and another at the British embassy in Tunis. The ambassadorial element is very important to us.
Several of the playing squad are long-established Barbarians. Llanelli Scarlets and Wales prop John Davies made a try-scoring debut for the club against Cardiff in 1993 and will be on his third summer tour. Ireland centre Kevin Maggs has played six times for the Club over the years while Springbok Hottie Louw, fellow lock Simon Miall, international flanker Jason Forster, as well as Davies, have all played five times.
Among the younger contingent are former Wales under-21 prop Cai Griffiths and Scotland under-21 centre Garry Law.
Geoff Windsor-Lewis concluded, Once again we have assembled a tour party that blends experience with youth and past experience has shown that this is the perfect recipe for a successful tour. With Zinzan [Brooke] coaching as well, everyone will benefit. We are honoured to be invited by the national rugby authorities of Tunisia and Spain and will conduct the tour on and off the field in the best traditions of the Barbarians.
Stuart Moffat (Border Reivers & Scotland)
*Rhys Williams (Cardiff Blues & Wales)
Lee Robinson (Bristol Rugby)
Tyrone Howe (Banbridge & Ireland)
Matt Cornwell (Leicester Tigers)
*Garry Law (Border Reivers)
Kevin Maggs (Ulster Rugby & Ireland)
*Nick Macleod (Cardiff Blues)
Nicky Robinson (Cardiff Blues & Wales)
*Guy Easterby (Leinster & Ireland)
Clive Stuart-Smith (Llanelli Scarlets)
John Davies (Llanelli Scarlets & Wales)
Justin Fitzpatrick (Ulster Rugby & Ireland)
Cai Griffiths (Ospreys)
Dorian Williams (London Welsh)
Andy Dalgleish (Oxford University & Newbury)
*James Hayter (NEC Harlequins)
Ollie Hodge (Exeter Chiefs)
Hottie Louw (Bath Rugby & South Africa)
Simon Miall (NEC Harlequins)
Jason Forster (Doncaster Knights & Wales)
Craig Hammond (Nottingham)
Tom Johnson (Coventry)
*Jonathan Mills(Llanelli Scarlets)
*Hugh Vyvyan (Saracens & England)
[* - denotes new Barbarian]
Saturday 19 May - Tunisia v Barbarians at Olympic Stadium, Tunis (kick-off 17.00)
Wednesday 23 May - Spain v Barbarians at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero, Elche (19.30)