Aplon named in BaaBaas squad

2015-05-13 14:10
Gio Aplon (Gallo)

Cape Town - South Africa’s Gio Aplon and Australia’s George Smith are among the new additions to the Barbarians squad for this month’s matches against Ireland and England.

Smith, the Lyon flank, is one of five players from five different countries named as the famous invitation club continues its 125th anniversary celebrations.

Head coach Robbie Deans has also added Springbok Aplon (Grenoble), Tonga prop Soane Tonga’uiha (Oyonnax), Uruguay lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega (Castres) and Japan No 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 May 28 and an England XV at Twickenham on May 31.

Only Richie McCaw has won more caps as a flank than Smith, who made 111 appearances for the Wallabies from 2000 to 2013 and led the side from 2007-09.

He returns to Thomond Park in Barbarians colours for the second time after scoring a try in the 29-23 win there in 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 prop Tonga’uiha played a major role at Northampton Saints before switching to Racing Metro and then Oyonnax, who have impressed in the Top 14 this season.

Lock Capo Ortega, based at Castres since 2002, was recalled by Uruguay to help them 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 No 8 and they have won their last 11 games with him in their side, including victories over Samoa, Canada, USA and Italy.

Aplon appeared 17 times as a wing or fullback for South Africa in a spell that included wins away from home against Ireland and England. He moved from the Stormers to join Grenoble  in France this season.

Read more on:    barbarians  |  gio aplon  |  george smith  |  rugby

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