Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Barbarians v World XV Preview

Not many rugby players get to make a debut for a new team at the age of 37 – but then not many players are like Alun Wyn Jones.

Having announced his retirement from international rugby a week ago, the Ospreys, Wales and British & Irish Lions forward will make his first appearance – as captain – for the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday in a game against a World XV.

AWJ was expected to go to the World Cup with Wales in September, but that final chapter will never be written.

Instead, this could be one of his final matches, with another Baa Baas appearance due next Wednesday, and after that, who knows?

His deal with the Ospreys is due to run out after the World Cup and there has been no talk from the region about a renewal.

At least his admirers get to see him this weekend and in the context of a match that should be worth watching and in which there will be plenty of tries, and plenty of Welsh interest.

Joining him in the Baa-Baa ranks will be fellow Osprey Gareth Anscombe, who starts at full back, and Dragons back row man Aaron Wainwright.

Scarlets prop Wyn Jones starts in the front row for Steve Hansen’s World XV, while Dragons hooker Elliot Dee and now unattached utility back Rhys Patchell, are on the bench.

The Barbarians will head to south Wales next week for a special anniversary fixture at St Helen’s against Swansea.

The Whites are celebrating their 150th anniversary and Jones is among the eight names revealed by Baa-Baas head coach for the game, John Mulvihill.

The Twickenham appearance will be Jones’ 15th outing at the home of English rugby in a game that will see him make his debut for the most famous invitational rugby side in the world.

For the past 16 years, he has generally been so busy and so vital his nation’s cause, he didn’t have the time – or Wales coaches didn’t feel they could spare him – for the Barbarians’ cause.

He has three wins over England in 12 games at Twickenham and suffered losses there to both Australia and South Africa there in 2015.

The game comes a week after the world’s record cap holder decided to hang up his boots at international level.

He made 12 Test appearances for the British & Irish Lions and 158 for Wales.

The sides contain a total of 1,286 international caps between them – with 650 for the Barbarians and 636 for the World XV – as well as Rugby World Cup winners, British & Irish Lions tourists, and several returning Barbarians.

Two of the most decorated coaches in world rugby, Australia’s former England chief Eddie Jones (Barbarians) and ex-All Blacks and Wales head coach  Hansen (World XV), also go head-to-head.

“It’s an incredible honour to be asked to coach the Barbarians for a second time,” said Eddie Jones.

“I am very much looking forward to returning to Twickenham Stadium – a venue I have so many fond memories of – as head coach of the Barbarians, and I’m more motivated than ever to put on a show.

“Going up against Steve rekindles a great rivalry which first started in our days competing in Super Rugby and progressed into the international arena. It’ll be a great challenge and one we’re both relishing.”

The fixture against the World XV marks the first return to Twickenham for the Barbarians since a stunning 52-21 victory over England in June 2022. They then retained the Killik Cup in November, courtesy of a 35-31 win over an All Blacks XV in front of 35,000 people at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Hansen added: “I’m really excited to be returning to Twickenham. I’ve coached both for and against the Barbarians during my career, and while you always have to expect the unexpected where they are concerned.

“You can be certain we’ll have a hugely entertaining match played in a festival atmosphere.”

Meanwhile, the game between Swansea and the Baa-Bass will kick off at 6.30pm on Wednesday, 31 May.

Barbarians: Gareth Anscombe; Adam Radwan, Seta Tamanivalu, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Li; Quade Cooper, Jack Maunder; Alex Waller, Nic Dolly, Enrique Pieretto, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Stephan Lewies, Aaron Wainwright, Kai Yamamoto, Steven Luatua

Reps: Harry Thacker, Tom West, Carlü Sadie, Rob Simmons, Sione Vailanu, Francois Hougaard, Aaron Cruden, Sam Johnson

World XV: Charles Piutau; Israel Folau, Semi Radradra, Ngani Laumape, Sbu Nkosi; Adam Hastings, Nick Phipps; Wyn Jones, Fraser Brown, Oli Kebble, Api Ratuniyarawa, Harry Hockings, Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro (captain), Vilame Mata.

Reps: Elliot Dee, Allan Dell, Marcus Street, Niccolò Cannone, Jordi Murphy, Bryn Hall, Rhys Patchell, Kaminieli Rasaku

Social Share

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular Posts

Scroll to Top