Hook named in Baabaas squad for B & I Lions

Former Wales international James Hook will have a chance to show British and Irish Lions bosses what they are missing out on after being included in the latest Barbarians squad to play the Lions in Hong Kong.

Many thought the Perpignan and Wales playmaker, who can operate in a variety of back-line positions as well as his favoured fly-half post, was unlucky to miss out when coach Warren Gatland named his Lions squad for the upcoming Test tour of Australia last week.

But with the Lions starting their tour with a non-cap match against the Barbarians, rugby union’s most famous invitational side, in Hong Kong on June 1, Hook may be in line to prove New Zealander Gatland, seconded from his day job in charge of Wales to coach the combined side, wrong.

Also among the 22 names announced by the Barbarians for a two-match tour, starting with a clash against England, were Hook’s compatriots and fellow former Lions Dwayne Peel and Matthew Rees.

Others forming the cornerstone of the squad include former All Blacks Joe Rokocoko and Nick Evans, four members of Italy’s Six Nations’ team -Sergio Parisse, Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini and Alessandro Zanni – and Springboks B J Botha, Marco Wentzel and Francois Louw.

In all, 10 different nationalities are represented, including two new wings, the United States’ Takudzwa Ngwenya and Hong Kong sevens’ skipper Rowan Varty plus Samoa’s world-class scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i.

The Barbarians traditionally field at least one uncapped player in their starting XV and Tuesday’s squad contained two men yet to play Test rugby in Kiwi full-back Jared Payne, currently with Ulster after several seasons of Super Rugby with the Crusaders and Blues, and former England Under-20 flanker Sam Jones of London Wasps.

Team manager Derek Quinnell said: “Our selection process has taken several months and is still not quite complete. Over the next week or so we will be monitoring the domestic play-off matches in Europe and the various national squads for the summer tours.

“Also, one or two players in the squad announced today may not be available for both of our matches so we expect to add other significant names to the team in the near future,” added Quinnell, who played for the star-studded Wales team of the 1970s and went on several Lions tours.

The Barbarians face England at Twickenham on May 26 before travelling to Hong Kong.



Jared Payne (Ulster), Rowan Varty (Hong Kong), Takudzwa Ngwenya (USA), Joe Rokocoko (NZL), James Hook (WAL), Nick Evans (NZL), Kahn Fotuali’i (SAM), Dwayne Peel (WAL), Dimitri Yachvili (FRA)


Duncan Jones (WAL), B J Botha (RSA), Paul James (WAL)m Martin Castrogiovanni (ITA), Matthew Rees (WAL), Leonardo Ghiraldini (ITA), Marco Wentzel (RSA), Jim Hamilton (SCO), Francois Louw (RSA), Sam Jones (Wasps), Alessandro Zanni (ITA), Sergio Parisse (ITA), Imanol Harinordoquy (FRA)

Coach: David Young (WAL)

Player/Assistant coach: Mike Tindall (ENG)

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