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Eddie Jones plays spoilsport with the Bastareaud experiment

By Online Editors
Mathieu Bastareaud poses ahead of the Barbarians fixture with Fiji (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)

Barbarians boss Eddie Jones has resisted the temptation to do a Lyon and select long-serving centre Mathieu Bastareaud in his experimental position of No8. 


The former France international midfielder recently spent a short-term contract playing in the forwards at the club that is currently top of the Top 14 as that competition takes a two-week break for the start of the Champions Cup. 

Jones butted in on a Bastareaud interview on Tuesday ahead of next Saturday’s outing in London versus Fiji, describing the 31-year-old as a “back and forward”.

However, rather than allow the 54-cap Frenchman the chance to try out his new positional skills at international level with the Barbarians after learning the ropes in the French league, he has decided to start him at Twickenham in the No13 shirt against the Fijians in a midfield partnership alongside South African Andre Esterhuizen. 

Bastareaud had joined Pierre Mignoni’s Lyon on a short loan this summer after being overlooked by France boss Jacques Brunel for the World Cup in Japan.

(Continue reading below…)

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With that loan stint now over, he is set to move to the United States to play for Rugby United New York in 2020 before returning to his parent club, Toulon. 

Jones’ XV will be novel in the sense that the England coach is now coaching two starters who played a huge part in England’s World Cup final downfall on November 2. 

Springboks Tendai Mtawarira, whose scrummaging had England on the set-piece backfoot, and try-scorer Makazole Mapimpi are in the Barbarians’ starting line-up, with centre Lukhanyo Am, who gave Mapimpi the assist for his try in Yokohama, chosen among the replacements. 


The Barbarians will be skippered by Rory Best, the retiring Ireland veteran who bowed out at the World Cup with a quarter-final defeat to New Zealand. Fijian Campese Maafu is named on the bench to face his native country. 

BARBARIANS: 15 David Havili; 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi; 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Joe Powell; 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Rory Best (capt), 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Reps: 16 Andrew Maakalio, 17 Campese Maafu, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Angus Cottrell, 20 Matt Philip, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Lukhanyo Am, 23 Morne Steyn.

WATCH: Sam Smith and the RugbyPass crew hit the streets of Shibuya on Halloween night during the recent World Cup in Japan

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