Barbarians Head coach Robbie Deans has named thirteen New Zealanders in his 26-man squad for games against New Zealand and Tonga as revealed by barbarianfc.
47 times-capped All Blacks prop Ben Franks, currently plying his trade with London Irish as well as fellow All Black and former Blues backrower Steve Luatua, currently with Bristol, are selected by the former Australia coach.
2011 World Cup winner Andy Ellis and 2015 World Cup Julian Savea, on the hunt for a return to the All Blacks squad, who are already included in the exciting squad, are some of the other kiwis in the legendary invitational teams’ group.
The cosmopolitan squad also has a strong South African feel to it with Gloucester backrower Ruan Ackermann, fresh from his side’s thrilling 22-21 win over Bath at the weekend included, as well Ackermann’s former Lions teammate Kwagga Smith and former Boks skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss.
Fly-half Robert du Preez, fresh from helping Western Province to Currie Cup glory over the weekend is another South African included in the squad as well as powerful Sharks hooker Akker van der Merwe and versatile Lions back Harold Vorster.
Brumbies second-row Sam Carter and powerful Waratahs back Taqele Naiyaravoro who both starred during the side’s defeat to Australia over the weekend, as well as Melbourne Rebels scrum-half Nic Stirzaker, are the three Australian representatives in the squad.
Experienced Italy backrower Simone Favaro is the only European in the squad as they look to bounce back from last Saturday’s defeat which saw them push the Wallabies all the way before succumbing to a narrow 31-28 defeat.
With a nice blend of youth and experience, and plenty of attacking firepower, the two games should make for entertaining viewing.
The Barbarians take on New Zealand at Twickenham in the Killik Cup this Saturday before heading to Thomond Park a week on Friday to take on Tonga.
The All Blacks who arrived in London this week are yet to name their team but Beauden Barrett is expected to skipper the side.
Here’s the squad-
Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester)
Dominic Bird (Chiefs & New Zealand)
Willie Britz (Sunwolves)
Sam Carter (Brumbies & Australia)
Simone Favaro (Fiamme Oro)
Ben Franks (London Irish & New Zealand)
Dillon Hunt (Highlanders)
Steven Luatua (Bristol & New Zealand) Atu Moli (Chiefs)
Kwagga Smith (Lions)
Ruan Smith (Toyota Verblitz)
Adriaan Strauss (Bulls & South Africa)
Akker van der Merwe (Sharks)
Jacques van Rooyen (Lions) Luke Whitelock (Highlanders & New Zealand)
Vince Aso (Hurricanes)
George Bridge (Crusaders)
Richard Buckman (Highlanders)
Mitchell Drummond (Crusaders)
Robert du Preez (Stormers)
Andy Ellis (Kobelco Steelers & New Zealand)
Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders)
Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs & Australia)
Julian Savea (Hurricanes & New Zealand)
Nic Stirzaker (Rebels)
Harold Vorster (Lions)