International stars line up for Barbarians against New Zealand
Players including Wallabies Matt Giteau and Rocky Elsom and Springboks Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez and Victor Matfield, are included in the Barbarians' 22-man squad to play New Zealand in the MasterCard Trophy Match at Twickenham on Saturday 5 December.
Joining them will be Blues players Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny and Andy Powell while adding spice to the glittering occasion will be the inclusion of All Black wing Joe Rokocoko.
Matfield, Roberts and Halfpenny will be making their Baa-Baas' debuts but several others on both sides will be no strangers to the unique atmosphere and challenge of a Barbarians v touring team encounter.
Giteau, Elsom and Rokocoko were members of the team that defeated the Springboks at Twickenham two years ago while Habana, du Preez, Rokocoko and Schalk Burger were in another star-studded line-up that took on Australia in the London Olympic celebration match at Wembley Stadium last December.
The ten forwards in the squad include two members of Italy's autumn international team, Salvatore Perugini and Carlo del Fava, plus Springbok prop Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira and Australia's most capped forward, George Smith.
Taking charge of the squad's preparations will be Italy's national coach Nick Mallett, assisted by Alan Solomons. Mallett played for the Barbarians against Leicester in 1979 while Solomons coached the club on their triumphant summer tour in 2003 which featured victories over England, Scotland and Wales.
Barbarian president Micky Steele-Bodger said, "Matches between the Barbarians and the All Blacks have always had a special resonance. The classic game in 1973 remains an obvious memory for everyone and next month's match will be the tenth fixture between us since we first met at Cardiff Arms Park in 1954.
"We are particularly pleased that several stars who have played for us before are returning to represent the club and we also appreciate the gesture by Cardiff Blues in allowing three of their Lions to accept invitations to play in what promises to be yet another mouthwatering match."
Backs - Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Bryan Habana (South Africa), Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand), Drew Mitchell (Australia), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Jaque Fourie (South Africa), Morne Steyn (South Africa), Matt Giteau (Australia), Fourie du Preez (South Africa), Will Genia (Australia)
Forwards - Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), Stephen Moore (Australia), Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa), W P Nel (Free State Cheetahs), Salvatore Perugini (Italy), Victor Matfield (South Africa), Danie Rossouw (South Africa), Carlo del Fava (Italy), Rocky Elsom (Australia), Schalk Burger (South Africa), George Smith (Australia), Andy Powell (Wales)
To celebrate the opening of the newly refurbished Guinness PRO12 Pack Bar, the world famous Irish brewer will be offering supporters free pints of the black stuff ahead of Saturday's clash with Ulster.
'TACKLE' - the first-ever joint community rugby initiative between the four professional teams in Wales has been launched (today Weds 19th October) bringing an inspiring new rugby education programme to young people in Communities First areas. Partners in the project were joined by Wales' star rugby internationals Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets) and Hallam Amos (Newport Gwent Dragons), for the launch at Aberdare Community School.
The Welsh Rugby Union, together with Pro Rugby Wales, has secured significantly improved insurance cover for all registered players, coaches and referees at each of its member clubs and regions at reduced costs -working with Aon, one of the world's largest insurance brokers and risk advisors.