Rugby

Barbarians to play Fiji in Belfast

2016-05-05 18:48
Argentina v Barbarians (Gallo Images)

London - The Barbarians will play their first match in Belfast in nearly 60 years when they face Fiji at the Kingspan Stadium on November 11, the club said Thursday.

This fixture will form part of the Barbarians' Autumn Tour, which will also see them play against South Africa at London's Wembley Stadium six days earlier.

The Barbarians, rugby union's most famous invitational side, first travelled to Ireland in 1957, where they played an Ulster Invitation XV in Belfast, and this will be their first visit back to the city since.

The Barbarians played four matches in 2015 last year, including a thrilling 31-49 defeat against Argentina in November.

A host of southern hemisphere stars including Australia's Stephen Moore and New Zealand's Nehe Milner-Skudder featured in that game.

The Barbarians will hope to field a similarly impressive team for the Belfast match, where they will be coached by former Australia boss Robbie Deans and England World Cup-winning centre Will Greenwood.

Fiji's side could well include such crowd-pleasers as Super Rugby sensation Nemani Nadolo and former Ulster favourite Timoci Nagusa.

"It will be a real pleasure to bring the Barbarians to Belfast to play at such an important venue that is the home of Ulster Rugby," said Deans.

"I'm sure we'll receive a hospitable welcome and make new friends among the knowledgeable rugby public in Ulster.

"The Barbarians and Fiji both have great traditions of playing entertaining and skilful rugby, as was shown at Twickenham when we last met. We'll endeavour to approach this game in the same competitive spirit."

The November 11 match will be the third time the sides have met with the series level at one game apiece.

Fiji won the first encounter 29-9 at Gosforth, Newcastle, north-east England in 1970, beating a Barbarians line-up that included such rugby greats as JPR Williams, Phil Bennett, Gareth Edwards, David Duckham and Fergus Slattery as they first cemented their reputation for running rugby in the eyes of many British fans.

The last meeting saw the Barbarians win 43-19 at Twickenham in 2013, with two tries apiece for Springboks Bismarck du Plessis and Jean de Villiers.

Read more on:    barbarians  |  rugby
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