Australia’s George Smith returns for the Barbarians for this month’s matches against Ireland and England. The Lyon flanker is one of five players from five different countries named as the famous invitational club continues its 125th anniversary celebrations.
Barbarians head coach Robbie Deans has also added South Africa winger Gio Aplon (Grenoble), Tonga prop Soane Tonga’uiha (Oyonnax), Uruguay lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega and Japan number 8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Panasonic Wild Knights) to his squad.
They join up with the likes of Joe Rokocoko, Adam Jones, Alex Cuthbert and Berrick Barnes for the matches against Ireland at Thomond Park on Thursday, May 28 and an England XV at Twickenham on Sunday, May 31.
Only Richie McCaw has won more caps at flanker than Smith, who made 111 appearances for the Wallabies from 2000 to 2013 and led the side from 2007 to 2009 when Deans was in charge.
He returns to Thomond Park in Barbarians colours for the second time after scoring a try in the 29-23 win there in June 2010 and has also appeared in the famous black and white shirt against England, Wales and New Zealand.
Smith is joined by three more experienced forwards in the shape of Tonga’uiha, Ortega and Holani, and an elusive outside back in Aplon.
Powerful loosehead Tonga’uiha played a major role at Northampton Saints before switching to Racing Metro 92 and then Oyonnax, who have impressed in the Top 14 this season.
Lock Capo Ortega, based at Castres since 2002, helped Uruguay beat Russia in the repechage to qualify for the Rugby World Cup where they will face England in Pool A later this year.
Holani is Japan’s established number 8 and they have won their last 11 games with him in their side, including victories over Samoa, Canada, the USA and Italy.
Aplon appeared 17 times as a winger or full-back for South Africa in a spell that included wins away from home against Ireland and England. He moved from the Stormers to join Grenoble this season.
Tickets for the Ireland v Barbarians match are priced from €;30 and family (1 adult & 1 junior) terrace packs from €;25 at ticketmaster.ie or 0818 719 300.