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Barbarians name team to face England

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Rumours that Joe Marler was set to come out of Test retirement for RWC proved incorrect (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)

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Joe Marler is one of two English players named in the Barbarians’ starting XV for Sunday’s annual fixture against England at Twickenham.


Harlequins prop Marler makes his first appearance against the team he served over 59 caps until announcing his international retirement last year in order to spend more time with his family.

Gloucester’s hard running inside centre Mark Atkinson honours the Barbarians’ tradition of picking an uncapped player and he pairs up with New Zealand’s Malakai Fekitoa in midfield.

The invitational side contains a total of 478 caps compared to the five contained in the England XV’s starting line-up – all of which are held by No8 Teimana Harrison.

Wales’ Rhys Webb and Richard Hibbard are present alongside a total of five All Blacks, with former Australia captain James Horwill leading the side.

Playing for the Barbarians is huge for me,” Marler said. “I was talking to someone the other day and they asked ‘what’s the point in the Barbarians?’


“But for me, it still has an important place in professional rugby. It’s even more important now to have it because everything is so intense, so pressurised and serious.

“You need to have an opportunity to enjoy rugby for the reasons you started playing for. You just want to pick up the ball and play and have fun.”

BARBARIANS: C Piutau (Bristol Bears & New Zealand); N Adeolokun (Connacht & Ireland), M Fekitoa (Toulon & New Zealand), M Atkinson (Gloucester), T Naiyaravoro (Northampton Saints & Australia); C Slade (Pau & New Zealand), R Webb (Toulon & Wales); J Marler (Harlequins & England), R Hibbard (Dragons & Wales), J Afoa (Bristol Bears & New Zealand), J Horwill (Harlequins & Australia, capt), C Vui (Bristol Bears & Samoa), S Luatua (Bristol Bears & New Zealand), F Louw (Bath & South Africa), V Mata (Edinburgh & Fiji).

Reps: D Heffernan (Connacht & Ireland), P Schoeman (Edinburgh), F Bealham (Connacht & Ireland), F Isa (Toulon & Argentina), L Messam (Toulon & New Zealand), R Williams (Dragons & Wales), B James (Bordeaux Begles), F Nakosi (Toulon).


– Press Association

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