Kirwan banks on Saffers

2014-10-13 10:26
John Kirwan (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - John Kirwan will give his international recruits the opportunity to stake their claim for Test places when the Barbarians take on Australia next month.

READ: Strong SA flavour for BaaBaas

The former World Cup winner takes charge of the famous invitation side for the Killik Cup match at Twickenham on November 1.

Already recruited are Wallabies wing Nick Cummins, former England prop Matt Stevens and a hard-edged group of South African forwards which include CJ Van der Linde, Heinrich Brussow, Coenie Oosthuizen, Thomas du Toit, Jacques Botes and Michael Rhodes.

The next contingent is set to be named next week, including Test players from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands aiming to keep themselves in the running for places at next year’s World Cup.

"We’re desperate to give Australia a real game, especially at the start of their tour,” said Blues coach Kirwan, a World Cup winner for New Zealand in 1987.

“I’ll be digging into my contacts book to pick the cream of the southern hemisphere talent.

“I will also pick a few exciting southern hemisphere players on the cusp of Test call-ups, so it will be a huge opportunity to showcase their talent on the big stage. They know a fair few of the Australians, which should really add some spice.

“We’ve also got Nick Cummins operating in a roving role out wide. ‘The Badge’ can do what he wants! He’s a great guy.”

Providing a ‘first Test’ at the start of Australia’s international programme is balanced by Kirwan’s respect for the Barbarians’ ethos of bringing together players from around the globe to play with a smile on their faces.

“We need to compete, so we’ll put the best footie team forward to do that,” he told Rugby World magazine.

“Rugby is still the game I love and I think it’s really important we have occasions like this. I need us to keep that tradition alive by playing incredibly well.

“What I’ve always liked about the BaaBaas is their sense of fun and old-fashioned values. In a way, the BaaBaas embody the ethos of rugby and that needs to be maintained.”

More than 50 000 tickets have been sold already for the Barbarians v Australia at Twickenham on November 1 (2.30pm).

Read more on:    john kirwan  |  rugby

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