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Back from the abyss, Bath's revival is gathering steam

Johan van Graan has quietly set about improving every facet of the West Country club and results are starting to come

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Barbarians name Damian McKenzie in Wasps-flavour week two squad

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Damian McKenzie will swap sides next week when he lines out for Scott Robertson’s Barbarians after playing against them this Sunday for the All Blacks XV in London. The fly-half lit up Dublin last Friday with an extravagant attacking performance against Ireland A and he has been named again at No10 for the second and final game of the two-match AB XV tour.

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However, rather than head home to begin his off-season, McKenzie will now stay on in England to feature for the Barbarians in their follow-up games at Harlequins and Bath, the Gallagher Premiership clubs who have arranged their matches with the Baa-Baas to offset cancelled league fixtures caused by the demise of Wasps and Worcester.

McKenzie will be one of three All Blacks XV squad members switching to the Barbarians as Levi Aumua and AJ Lam have also been selected in the 25-man squad that features six free-agent ex-Wasps players, three free-agent Worcester players, two ex-Wasps players currently on short-term deals at Munster, old Harlequins favourite Mike Brown, old Bath favourite Matt Banahan and fellow ex-England internationals Luther Burrell and Marland Yarde.

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Harlequins are first up for the Barbarians on their Premiership tour, hosting the famed invitational side at the Stoop on November 17 with the fixture versus Bath at The Rec following on November 20. A different Baa-Baas squad, coached by Geordan Murphy and John Mulvihill, will then assemble for the week three game versus Northampton on November 26.

Prop John Ryan, one of the ex-Wasps pair now at Munster, is the only player in this week’s Barbarians squad to face the All Blacks XV who will stay on for next week’s second leg of the tour.

Barbarians squad (vs Harlequins, Bath)
Abraham Papali’i, AJ Lam, Cathal Forde, Damian McKenzie, Elliott Stooke, Francois Hougaard, Gabriel Oghre, Gareth Simpson, Graham Kitchener, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Iacopo Bianchi, Jacob Umaga, Jacopo Trulla, John Ryan, Kieran Brookes, Kiran McDonald, Levi Aumua, Luther Burrell, Marland Yarde, Matt Banahan, Mike Brown, Murray McCallum, Olly Robinson, Tim Cardall, Tom Cruse.

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