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Four Irish Included In Barbarians Selection

Four Irish Included In Barbarians Selection

Guy Easterby is in line to make his debut for the Barbarians later this month, having been called up for duty on the invitational side’s annual summer tour. Three other Irish players – Tyrone Howe, Kevin Maggs and Justin Fitzpatrick – have also been included in the squad.

Scrum half Easterby, who is facing into his last game for Leinster this Friday, has accepted an invitation to join the Baa-Baas on their 2007 summer tour, which includes fixtures against the national teams of Tunisia and Spain.

The touring party of 25 players, drawn from seven nationalities, includes seven new Barbarians and 13 Test caps, and will be coached by Barbarian committee man and former All Black number eigh Zinzan Brooke.

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This year’s 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 year’s squad, including a complete front row of Messrs Fitzpatrick, Azam 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.”

The tour has the official blessing of the International Rugby Board, who will also be sending a film crew to provide coverage for its Total Rugby programme on Sky Sports. International referee Dave Pearson of England will travel with the party and will take coaching sessions with referees in both countries as well as handling the two matches.

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 Baa-Baas over the years while Springbok Hottie Louw, fellow lock Simon Miall, international flanker Jason Forster, as well as Davies, have all played five times.

Maggs and Ulster and Ireland prop Justin Fitzpatrick both played for the Barbarians in last month’s centenary match against the Army.

BARBARIANS Tour Squad: 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), Olivier Azam (Gloucester Rugby & France), *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), *Richard Parks (Perpignan & Wales), *Hugh Vyvyan (Saracens & England).

* – denotes new Barbarian

Tour Fixtures:

Saturday, May 19 – Tunisia v Barbarians, Olympic Stadium, Tunis (5pm local time)
Wednesday, May 23 – Spain v Barbarians, Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero, Elche (7.30pm local time)