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Barbarians appoint Australian coaches for their September tour

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

The Barbarians’ recent penchant for appointing Australian coaches will continue in September when the world’s most famous invitational rugby team re-assembles in Bristol for the start of their next tour.

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It was last November when John Mulvihill took the reins from New Zealand’s Scott Robertson for the Baa-Baas’ three-game tour versus Gallagher Premiership clubs after they had defeated an All Blacks XV in the Killik Cup at Tottenham.

Mulvihill was again in charge recently against Swansea three days after the Eddie Jones-coached Barbarians defeated Steve Hansen’s World XV in a Killik Cup thriller at Twickenham, and the Australian theme will now continue when the Baa-Baas take on Pat Lam’s Bears on September 7 – the night before the 2023 Rugby World Cup gets underway in Paris with France hosting the All Blacks.

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A statement read: “Australian quartet Jason Gilmore, Berrick Barnes, Nathan Grey and Laurie Fisher will take charge of the world-famous Barbarians when they take on Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate. Pat Lam’s men will take on the iconic invitation side in a sensational curtain raiser for the new campaign, with live music and an international party atmosphere in BS3.

“Gilmore, the current NSW Waratahs assistant coach, has previously coached at Queensland Reds and the Australia U20s.

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“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.”

Bristol boss Lam said: “Having had the honour of coaching the Barbarians on two occasions, I must congratulate Jason, Laurie, Nathan and Berrick on their appointments for the UK tour. Everyone in Bristol is excited to welcome the Barbarians to Ashton Gate in September for what promises to be another memorable occasion in the city.”

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Other tour matches currently pencilled in for the Barbarians are September 30 at Munster and October 7 at Harlequins.

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Flankly 8 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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