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Another Premiership club secures a fixture versus the Barbarians

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)

The Barbarians have added yet another match to their upcoming September/October UK and Ireland tour, agreeing to return to Franklin’s Gardens just 11 months after they last played there against Northampton.


With the start of the 2023/24 season delayed due to the Rugby World Cup in France, clubs have been firming up their pre-season calendars and the Baa-Baas are proving to be a popular choice.

A men’s squad that will be coached by a four-strong Australian contingent already had matches organised against Bristol (September 7), Scarlets (September 16), Munster (September 30) and Harlequins (October 7), and they will now also take on Northampton.

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A statement read: “Northampton Saints are delighted to confirm that Barbarian FC will return to cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens later this summer, with the sides set to lock horns on Saturday, September 2 (kick-off: 3pm).

“Saints ran out 45-39 winners on a memorable afternoon when the sides met for the first time ever back in November 2022 – with likes of Saints legends Tom Wood and Luther Burrell joining international stars Danny Cipriani, Owen Williams and Francois Hougaard in the famous Barbarians hooped jerseys.


“The Barbarians will be led by an Australian coaching quartet of Jason Gilmore, Laurie Fisher, Berrick Barnes, and Nathan Grey. Gilmore, the current NSW Waratahs assistant coach, has previously coached at Queensland Reds and the Australia U20s. Barnes, a former dual-code star and 51-cap Wallaby international, is a current member of NRL side Newcastle Knights’ coaching staff.

“The 35-cap Wallaby centre Nathan Grey is the former Australia and NSW Waratahs defence coach, while former Gloucester coach Fisher is the current assistant coach of the Brumbies.”


Northampton CEO Mark Darbon said: “The visit of the Baa-Baas last year was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the season at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, and given the brilliant feedback we had from our supporters following that game, we are delighted to welcome them back again.

“We were able to showcase a fantastic day of top-class rugby, creating a new piece of history for Northampton Saints as we played the famous side for the first time.

“We also, as is the case this season, were able to ensure our supporters were not left out-of-pocket with fewer Gallagher Premiership fixtures on our calendar, and we remain committed to delivering unmissable entertainment at great value for all our season ticket holders and hospitality guests.

“Everyone at the club is thrilled about the prospect of welcoming Barbarian FC back to Northampton, and we would like to thank everyone involved for helping to make it happen. It should be an excellent way to kick our season off on home soil, combining the Baa-Baas’ world-famous flair with Saints’ exhilarating brand of rugby.”


Baa-Baas assistant Gilmore added: “To coach the Barbarians on a UK tour is an exciting challenge and one I can’t wait for. The opportunity to bring the Barbarian style of play to a full house at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens will make for a great match.”

Fisher added: “I’m very excited to be returning to the UK. Time passes quickly and the quality of rugby in the northern hemisphere has continued to rise.

“To have the opportunity to be associated with the Barbarian name in rugby is a true honour and I look forward to seeing some old faces and meeting new ones as my rugby journey continues.”


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