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BaaBaas confirm Quade Cooper and two more Boks will join side

By Kim Ekin
Quade Cooper /Getty Images

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Quade Cooper has been confirmed for the Barbarians November Test match, although some doubt exists over what side they will face in the fixture.

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They were due to face the full Samoan Test team on November 27th, but it has had to pull out of the match, although a ‘Manu Samoa selection’ is expected to complete the fixture.

Whoever they face, Cooper, who has returned to form with Wallabies after guiding them to two victories over the Springboks in the Rugby Championship, will be involved. Recalled to the international stage after an absence of four years, Cooper responded by playing a pivotal role in back-to-back doubles against South Africa and Argentina – a four-in-a-row first for the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship.

The veteran fly-half will be 35 when the next Rugby World Cup comes around in two years’ time, but it seems Rennie is open to starting the mercurial playmaker in the tournament.

The invitational side have also confirmed two more Springboks World Cup winners will be involved. Steven Kitshoff, who played a central role in Springboks’ dramatic win over New Zealand in the Rugby Championship this weekend passed, will also be involved. Joining him will be fellow Springbok and potential Barbarians debutant Frans Malherbe.

The Bok props will join hooker Malcolm Marx and the Ulster-bound No.8 Duane Vermeulen, who have already been signed up.

Coach Dave Rennie, whose Australia squad finish their Autumn Series against Wales in Cardiff on November 20, will have at least four of the Wallabies side at his disposal in the famous Barbarian black-and-white, with Cooper joining Len Ikitau, Nic White and Pete Samu. Also signed up is Argentinian stalwart Pablo Matera, with more names to be announced in the coming weeks.

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More than 35,000 tickets have already been sold for the Barbarians’ autumn fixture, although they now face a headache cementing their opposition.

Samoa said in a press release this morning that they have had to pull out due to their country’s extremely strict C-19 restrictions on travel and the fact they felt their players could not be protected.

“Lakapi Samoa was not able to guarantee the safety of any of our players and management whilst on campaign and the current State of Emergency measures by the Government restricts the return of anyone within six months of contacting the virus,” said Lakapi Samoa CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai.

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It’s a major blow to Samoa’s finances, with the cash-strapped union forecast to pocket a six-figure sum for the game.

Barbarian Women will take on a Springbok Women’s XV following the men’s match at 5.15pm and ticket prices include both matches. You can buy tickets at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/barbarians.

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