London - The Barbarians have named four Rugby World Cup winners in an initial group of eight players in their squad to face Samoa at the Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, next weekend.
The teams are taking part in the first rugby match played at the iconic London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue next Saturday (August 29).
South Africa’s Bakkies Botha and Wynand Olivier lifted the trophy in 2007, while New Zealand’s Ali Williams and Adam Thomson were victorious in 2011.
They will be joined by more famous forwards in the shape of South Africa No 8 Pierre Spies, New Zealand prop Carl Hayman, and Australia prop Benn Robinson and flank Liam Gill.
Between them, the eight players have amassed 342 international caps with Botha retiring from professional rugby later this year having made 85 appearances for the Springboks.
"It’s a privilege to be working with so many experienced players and the challenge is to bring the squad together so that we’ll be really competitive for the first rugby match at such a great venue,” said head coach Jamie Joseph.
“We’ll want to play in a way that lives up to the best traditions of the Barbarians and it’s a very important occasion for Samoa too as they complete their preparations for the World Cup. It should be a great game."
Highlanders coach Joseph, whose side clinched the Super Rugby title in July, will be assisted by another former All Black in Carlos Spencer.
The Barbarians v Samoa match is part of testing programme run by England Rugby 2015, the Rugby World Cup 2015 Organising Committee, and will allow them to trial aspects of match day delivery ahead of the venue hosting five 2015 Rugby World Cup matches, including the bronze final, later this year.
Samoa will go on to open their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign against the USA at Brighton Community Stadium on September 20. The Pacific islanders then face South Africa, Scotland and Japan in Pool B of the tournament.