Brooke to coach Barbarians

Former All Black legend and number eight Zinzan Brooke will coach the Barbarians when they embark on their annual summer tour to play the national teams of Tunisia and Spain later this month.

The touring party of 25 players, drawn from seven nationalities, includes seven new Barbarians and thirteen test caps.

This year’s tour follows recent trips to Portugal in 2004 and Georgia last year.

“We are delighted to add two new countries to our itinerary,” said Barbarian secretary Geoffrey Windsor-Lewis.

“As well as our long established domestic fixtures in the United Kingdom, our annual trips overseas are proving to be extremely popular with the players we invite while the host countries invariably welcome us with open arms.

“It is no coincidence that eight of this year’s squad, including a complete front row of Messrs Fitzpatrick, Azam and Davies, came with us to Georgia twelve months ago and ten have already turned out in earlier fixtures nearer home this season.”

“In addition to playing two landmark matches, all of the tour party will be involved in coaching sessions with local youngsters and there will be civic receptions and another at the British embassy in Tunis. The ambassadorial element is very important to us.”

The tour has the official blessing of the International Rugby Board, who will also be sending a film crew to provide coverage for its Total Rugby programme on Sky Sports. International referee Dave Pearson of England will travel with the party and will take coaching sessions with referees in both countries as well as handling the two matches.

Several of the playing squad are long-established Barbarians. Llanelli Scarlets and Wales prop John Davies made a try-scoring debut for the club against Cardiff in 1993 and will be on his third summer tour. Ireland centre Kevin Maggs has played six times for the Club over the years while Springbok Hottie Louw, fellow lock Simon Miall, international flanker Jason Forster, as well as Davies, have all played five times.

Among the younger contingent are former Wales under-21 prop Cai Griffiths both Cardiff Blues fly-halves Nick Macleod and Nick Robinson, and Scotland under-21 centre Garry Law.

Others, such as speedy Coventry flanker Tom Johnson, London Welsh prop Dorian Williams, Exeter lock Ollie Hodge, former England Saxons captain Clive Stuart-Smith and Leicester centre Matt Cornwell, impressed in Club colours in the Mobbs Memorial Match and last month’s centenary match against the Army.

“Once again we have assembled a tour party that blends experience with youth and past experience has shown that this is the perfect recipe for a successful tour,” added Windsor-Lewis.

“With Zinzan [Brooke] coaching as well, everyone will benefit.

“We are honoured to be invited by the national rugby authorities of Tunisia and Spain and will conduct the tour on and off the field in the best traditions of the Barbarians.”

Squad: Stuart Moffat (Border Reivers & Scotland), *Rhys Williams (Cardiff Blues & Wales), Lee Robinson (Bristol Rugby), Tyrone Howe (Banbridge & Ireland), Matt Cornwell (Leicester Tigers), *Garry Law (Border Reivers), Kevin Maggs (Ulster Rugby & Ireland), *Nick Macleod (Cardiff Blues), Nicky Robinson, (Cardiff Blues & Wales), *Guy Easterby (Leinster & Ireland), Clive Stuart-Smith (Llanelli Scarlets), John Davies (Llanelli Scarlets & Wales), Justin Fitzpatrick (Ulster Rugby & Ireland), Cai Griffiths (Ospreys), Dorian Williams (London Welsh), Olivier Azam (Gloucester Rugby & France)*, James Hayter (NEC Harlequins), Ollie Hodge (Exeter Chiefs), Hottie Louw (Bath Rugby & South Africa), Simon Miall (NEC Harlequins), Jason Forster (Doncaster Knights & Wales), Craig Hammond (Nottingham), Tom Johnson (Coventry)*, Richard Parks (Perpignan & Wales)*, Hugh Vyvyan (Saracens & England)

[* – denotes new Barbarian]

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