Source: ©INPHO/Giuseppe Fama

Barbarians on the Prowl again!

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It’s barely two months ago that I mentioned the ‘missing’ BaaBaas in a piece about rugby aspirations that had passed out of view:

Now we have the unexpected but glad news that the BaaBaas are on the trail once more. Given everything else going on in the world of rugby, this counts as a major triumph for Fiona Stockley, the inexhaustible organiser.

After a two-year break they will play two matches, one against South Africa in Cape Town, the other against Munster in Limerick. (details below)

Both are return matches (if not in location). Munster were the BaaBaas’ first opponents six years ago. The Boks played them at Twickenham. Both will be looking for a reversal of results.

The itinerary is cleverly chosen. Though the distances are long, there is only a 2-hour time-slide to overcome.

For the Boks this match provides a helpful preparation for WXV2. For Munster it’s a chance to right recent ‘wrongs’: they lost to Leinster in the latest Interpro tournament final.

The Squad:

Lindsay Peat (Ireland / Railway Union)
Ciara O’Connor (Ireland / Ponsonby Fillies)
Kathryn Buggy (Ireland / Gloucester-Hartpury)
Elizabeth Crake (England / Ealing Trailfinders)
Jo Kitlinski (USA / Colorado Gray Wolves)
May Campbell (England / Saracens)
Beth Stafford (unattached)
Ciara Cooney (Ireland / Harlequins)
Eloise Blackwell (New Zealand / Ponsonby Fillies)
Vicky Fleetwood (England / Saracens*)
Christiana Balogun (Bristol Bears)
Kayleigh Searcy (Sale Sharks)
Ciara Griffin (Ireland / UL Bohemians)
Sara Barratin (Italy / Villorba Rugby*)
Ailsa Hughes (Ireland / Railway Union)
Patricia Garcia Rodriguez (Spain*)
Elinor Snowsill (Wales / Bristol Bears*)
Gemma Rowland (Wales / Wasps)
Katie Alder (Wasps)
Megan Gaffney (Scotland / Heriots)
Maria Magatti (Italy / Bennetton Rugby)
Carla Hohepa (New Zealand / Kihikihi Rugby Club)
Elizabeth Goulden (Gloucester-Hartpury)
Mary Healy (Ireland / Galwegians RFC)

HEAD COACH: Sean Lynn (Gloucester-Hartpury)
* denotes retired

The squad represents eight nations.

It includes World Cup winners, national captains, a 100-capper and big characters. In true Barbarian tradition uncapped players find a place. Here Stockley takes the opportunity to include a number who nearly reached the top and deserve further recognition; among them several whose home is in the Wasps nest, Stockley’s own club. It’s especially delightful to see Katie Alder’s name reappear, the club captain during some of Wasps’ palmiest days.

The honour of coaching them falls to Sean Lynn. Stockley could hardly aim higher: it was Lynn who collected a formidable Gloucester-Hartpury squad around him to carry off the latest (and last) version of the English Premier 15s title. G-H must hope that his absence during the build-up to the new PWR season won’t effect their progress.

This news adds to the excitement of all the autumn matches coming our way. That one day, 30 September, already sees five internationals taking place. How do we fit all that in?

Fixture Details:

23 September v South Africa, Athlone Stadium, Cape Town, KO 16.30 (local time)
30 September v Munster, Thomond Park, Limerick, KO 14.00 (local time)