Bundee Aki will miss out on captaining the Barbarians against England at Twickenham this Sunday after rolling his ankle in training. He is expected to be fit for Ireland’s summer tour opener against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, June 9.
Head coach Pat Lam has finalised his Barbarians squad by adding a final five players – including Connacht prop Denis Buckley – to the group taking on England in the Quilter Cup at Twickenham this weekend. Tickets are available to buy here.
Scotland out-half Finn Russell, World Cup winning centre Malakai Fekitoa and and Fiji all-rounder Josh Matavesi come into a star-studded backs division, while Newcastle Falcons flanker Nili Latu joins the forwards along with uncapped Connacht loosehead Buckley.
Following fitness tests yesterday, Bundee Aki, who was set to captain the Baa Baas, and departing Ulster full-back Charles Piutau will both miss the game against England, and Sale Sharks out-half AJ MacGinty has also been withdrawn.
The Barbarians will field possibly the most cosmopolitan side in their 118-year history against England. Twelve different nationalities are involved with New Zealand (4), Ireland (3) and Fiji (3) providing the largest contingents.
Lam said: “It’s unfortunate that Charles Piutau strained an Achilles tendon warming up for Ulster on the weekend, Bundee Aki rolled an ankle in training in Galway and AJ MacGinty has been pulled out by his club.
“But it’s great that we’re able to call in some more quality players following the weekend’s semi-finals. Finn Russell comes in from Glasgow, Malakai Fekitoa from Toulon and Josh Matavesi from Newcastle, and they’ll all add to the Barbarians way.
“I’ve worked with Denis Buckley at Connacht and he’s a powerful scrummager with a high work-rate around the pitch, while Nili Latu has just finished a superb spell at Newcastle and his destructive power and experience across the back row will be a great asset for us.”
BARBARIANS Squad (v England) – Backs (10): Niyi Adeolokun (Connacht/Ireland), Chris Ashton (Toulon/England), Malakai Fekitoa (Toulon/New Zealand), Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne/Scotland), Luke McAlister (Toulon/New Zealand), Josh Matavesi (Newcastle Falcons/Fiji), Semi Radradra (Toulon), Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland), Josua Tuisova (Toulon/Fiji), Rhodri Williams (Bristol/Wales).
Forwards (13): John Afoa (Gloucester/New Zealand), Denis Buckley (Connacht), Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Ireland), Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon/Argentina), Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais/Argentina), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne/France), Nili Latu (Newcastle Falcons/Tonga), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester Tigers/Australia), Sateleki Timani (Clermont Auvergne/Australia), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales), Loni Uhila (Clermont Auvergne), Flip van der Merwe (Clermont Auvergne/South Africa), Victor Vito (La Rochelle/New Zealand).