London - The Barbarians will make London’s Olympic Stadium their home for the first rugby match to be played at the iconic venue ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The world famous invitation side have a number of high profile international matches throughout the year in celebration of their 125th anniversary, including this fixture against Samoa on Saturday, August 29 (15:00) at the Olympic Stadium.
The match will be delivered in partnership between the Barbarians, E20 Stadium LLP (a joint venture between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council), and England Rugby 2015, Tournament Organisers for Rugby World Cup 2015.
The match is also part of England Rugby 2015’s testing programme and will allow the organisers to trial aspects of match day delivery ahead of the venue hosting five Rugby World Cup matches, including the Bronze Final, later this year.
The Barbarians will field a high-quality side of international stars when they take on former Rugby World Cup quarter finalists Samoa, who are preparing for Pool B matches against South Africa, Scotland, the USA and Japan.
Samoa will utilise the match as a final warm-up opportunity before opening their Rugby World Cup campaign against the USA at Brighton Community Stadium on September 20.
“It is a significant honour for the Barbarians to take part in the first rugby match at the Olympic Stadium,” said Barbarians’ President Micky Steele-Bodger.
“The match should be a great spectacle for supporters and we hope to light up the stadium with the Barbarians brand of rugby in our first meeting with Samoa."
Samoa coach, Stephen Betham, commented: “It is a great privilege for the Samoan Rugby Union to play the Barbarians in the run up to Rugby World Cup 2015. Not only will it be our first ever match against the BaaBaas, but at the Olympic Stadium too, it will certainly be a historical moment for us.”
“The attacking flair of Barbarians rugby will be a good test for us to measure where we are at in our preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015. The game will allow us to test our attack, defensive systems and final combinations, and is the ideal final dress rehearsal for Manu Samoa’s Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign.”
Debbie Jevans, England Rugby 2015 CEO, said: “We are delighted to add the Barbarians v Samoa match at the Olympic Stadium to our testing programme. As Tournament Organisers it is important that we stress test all our plans to ensure that we are fully prepared to deliver the tournament and we are pleased to be part of the first ever rugby match at the Olympic Stadium. We would like to thank the Barbarians and E20 Stadium LLP for their collaborative approach.”The Barbarians have so far announced four other 2015 fixtures. A Barbarians side will take on Heriot’s in Edinburgh on April 21 before matches against Ireland at Thomond Park in Limerick (May 28), and at Twickenham Stadium against England (May 31) and Argentina (November 21), all in celebration of their 125th Anniversary.