The Barbarians will take to Twickenham once again on Saturday
Barbarians Men v Samoa Preview
Rob Kearney will retire after the Barbarians match against Samoa on Saturday at Twickenham.
The 35-year-old full-back won the last of his 95 Ireland caps at the 2019 Rugby World Cup and is now calling time on his career after a stint in Australia with Western Force.
“It’s always been a dream to play for the @Barbarian_FC and what a historic team to play your last game of rugby with, grateful for the opportunity,” he tweeted.
Kearney won four Six Nations titles with Ireland as well as six league titles and four European Cups with Leinster. He also toured with the British & Irish Lions in 2009 and 2013.
He will be looking to end his career with a win and in our Barbarians men v Samoa preview you can find out all you need to know about the fixture.
What’s the big team news?
The Barbarians match-day 23 is dominated by Australian players, with seven Wallabies in the starting XV, including half-backs Nic White and James O’Connor. There is also some Springboks power in the form of Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Duane Vermeulen.
Ryan Wilson is the sole European representative in the starting line-up and will captain the side at Twickenham, while Rob Kearney will make his final appearance from the bench.
Selection has been tricky for Samoa given Covid restrictions, but they have attacking threats in their line-up like Sinoti Sinoti and powerful forwards like Joe Tekori, while experienced prop Michael Alaalatoa is on the bench.
What have the coaches said?
Barbarians head coach Dave Rennie: “We’ve had a great week – a good combination of work on the pitch, connection and fun. They guys have come together as a strong group and we’re all focused on tomorrow.
“We’ve got eight different countries represented in our squad and the diversity, different levels of experience and different playing styles have really combined to create an exciting line-up. We plan to get out there and play some champagne rugby against a strong Samoan side and give the fans a great show.”
Samoa head coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua: “We are under no illusions at the enormity of the task ahead in our match against the Barbarians. I do believe we have selected a well-balanced, exciting group of players who have a great opportunity to add to the rich history of Barbarians matches.
“I am excited for the management group and players for the opportunity to play at HQ and also for our supporters and fans that Manu Samoa gets to take the field for the last international match of 2021.”
What time is kick-off and is it on TV?
The match will kick off at 2.30pm on Saturday 27 November at Twickenham.
Referee Craig Evans will be assisted by Mathieu Raynal and Pierre Brousset while Eric Gauzins is the TMO.
The fixture will be shown live on BBC One, with coverage starting at 2pm.
What are the line-ups?
Barbarians: Tom Wright; Marcos Moneta, Len Ikitau, Ryoto Nakamura, Filipo Daugunu; James O’Connor, Nic White; Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Shinnosuke Kakinaga, Rob Leota, Naohiro Kotaki, Ryan Wilson (captain), Pete Samu, Duane Vermeulen.
Replacements: Kosuke Horikoshi, Angus Bell, Gia Kharaishvili, Rodrigo Fernandez Criado, Olly Robinson, Tate McDermott, Izaia Perese, Rob Kearney.
Samoa: Jamie-Jerry Taulagi; Elijah Niko, Opetera Peleseuma, Parataiso Silafai-Leaana, Sinoti Sinoti; AJ Alatimu, Nigel Hunt; Aki Seiuli, John Ulugia, Paul Alo-Emile, Ben Nee-Nee, Joe Tekori, Mikaele Tapili, Talalelei Gray, Abraham Papalii.
Replacements: Albert Onele’i, Sakaria Taulafo, Michael Alaalatoa, Salo Tutaia, Senio Toleafoa, Reece Anapu, Aviata Silago, Alexander Luatua.
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