England will face a Barbarians team firmly based on Fijian talent and Saracens players at Twickenham next Sunday. Barbarians coach Vern Cotter has drafted in seven of his Fiji players who will link up with the rest of the Pacific Islands nations squad for the Autumn international series after the Twickenham match, which takes place just 24 hours after the Gallagher Premiership play-off final between Wasps and Heineken Champions Cup winners Exeter.
Saracens are supplying 11 players, headed by ex-England scrum half Richard Wigglesworth and Scotland wing Sean Maitland.
Cotter, who was appointed as the new Fiji coach in January, has yet to take control of a Fiji training session due to the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic and is hoping to change that following the Barbarians match with his squad due to assemble for a training camp in France.
Fiji have a warm up game with Portugal and may have to switch their training base because of the current pandemic situation in France.
In the Autumn test series, Fiji will play France on 15 November, Italy on 21 November and Scotland on 29 November.
Gareth Baber, the Fiji sevens coach, has agreed to release Rusiate Nasove to join the XV’s squad to gain international experience and Cotter told the Fiji Sun: “Although he (Nasove) was a sevens contracted player, he was released by Gareth (Baber) to gain experience at the highest level.”
Joining Nasove in the Barbarians squad are fellow Fijians Haereiti Hete, Tevita Ikanivere, Samuela Tawake, Manueli Ratuniyarawa, Simione Kuruvoli and Serupepeli Vularika.
“We will join up with the remainder of the Flying Fijians squad in France after this (England) match”, added Cotter.
The Fiji boss also stated that he believes his Barbarians squad can deliver something special against what will be a young England team.
Cotter said: “We are collecting a very strong mix of players and are looking forward to creating a Barbarians team that will deliver the brand of rugby with flair, passion and excitement for which we are known across the world.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now