Rugby World Cup winning coach Graham Henry and his assistant Steve Hansen have accepted invitations to coach the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday 26 November.
The Kiwi partnership will take charge of a Barbarian squad for the first time as the famous touring club prepares to take on the Tri-Nations’ champions, the Wallabies, for the Killik & Co Cup.
Barbarians’ chairman John Spencer said: “This is a great coup for the Barbarians at this particular time. Having seen at first hand in New Zealand in recent weeks the high regard in which both Graham Henry and Steve Hansen are held by the rugby fraternity at large, capped by the All Blacks being crowned as world champions, we are absolutely delighted that they are coming to the UK to coach the Barbarians.”
Joining Henry and Hansen in a star-studded line-up will be other headline names from the Rugby World Cup, including several of New Zealand’s triumphant squad. Sonny Bill Williams and Keven Mealamu are scheduled to make their second Barbarians’ appearance while the All Black debutants include Jerome Kaino, Piri Weepu and Adam Thomson.
Also returning to Barbarian colours are Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny from Wales and Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield from South Africa. The four last played together when the Barbarians beat New Zealand two years ago – and Habana left his imprint on a pulsating victory with a hat-trick of tries.
Joining the Barbarian horde for the first time are famous rugby names from around the world including Stirling Mortlock (Australia), Danny Cipriani (England), Jason White (Scotland) and the Welsh trio of Joneses in record cap-holder Stephen Jones and his namesakes Ryan and Adam.
Barbarians’ secretary Alan Evans said: “Advance ticket sales have already hit the 40,000 mark and as more and more star names are announced we are confident that the British rugby public will want to be at Twickenham to see whether Graham Henry and Steve Hansen can mastermind another victory over the Wallabies.”
Tickets for the Killik & Co Cup match are now on sale via Ticketmaster.co.uk (0844 847 2492), priced from £15 for children and £35 to £65 for adults.
To complete a mouthwatering day of top-class international rugby at the stadium, the Barbarians v Australia match will be followed at 5.00pm by a repeat of the 2010 Women’s World Cup final when England take on New Zealand.