THE BARBARIANS HAVE announced that Rene Ranger, David Smith and Joe Rokocoko will be part of their squad to face Ireland and England next month.
The famous invitational side take on Joe Schmidt’s Ireland at Thomond Park on 28 May, just two days before the Guinness Pro12 final.
Rokocoko in action against Ireland during his prolific New Zealand career. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO
Schmidt may be without several of his leading Munster and Ulster players for the BaaBaas clash, as well as possibly missing Connacht or Leinster men, but the earliest announcements from the Barbarians suggest they will bring a strong squad to Limerick.
The explosive Ranger has been playing with Top 14 club Montpellier for the last two seasons, but has already confirmed a return to New Zealand at the end of the current campaign.
31-year-old Rokocoko plies his trade with Bayonne in France, having scored 46 tries in his 68 tests for New Zealand before leaving his native land. Smith, meanwhile, is set to leave Toulon at the end of the season despite his 13 tries in 14 appearances in the Top 14.
Robbie Deans, the former Australia boss, is the coach for the Barbarians meetings with Ireland and England next month and welcomed the three players into his squad.
They join the previously confirmed Berrick Barnes, Tomas Cubelli and George Whitelock in the playing group, with more big names expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
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“As a coach, the chance to combine the attacking talents of players like David Smith, Joe Rokocoko and Rene Ranger in one team is an exciting opportunity,” said Deans.
Ranger was born to play Barbarians rugby. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
“All three are quality performers who have thrived for Northern and Southern Hemisphere sides and it’s a testament to the standing of the Barbarians that they are able to bring them together.
“They’ll enjoy training and playing together as part of the same squad and I’m sure supporters in Ireland and England will enjoy watching them.”
Tickets for the Ireland v Barbarians match are priced from €30 and family (1 adult & 1 junior) terrace packs from €25 at www.ticketmaster.ie or 0818 719 300.
Schmidt may use Barbarians clash to ‘broaden’ Ireland’s playing baseThose free tickets for the Champions Cup final? That was a mistake, apparently