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Ex-England wing Yarde set to play first match since January arrest

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Ex-England winger Marland Yarde is poised to play his first match in ten months following his exit from Sale earlier this year as he has been named in the provisional Barbarians squad of 23 to take on Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens on November 26.


It was last January when the Manchester club admitted that an unnamed player belonging to them had been arrested by police, and it was September 2 when the 13 caps international took to social media to confirm he was the subject of that investigation.

His statement two months ago, which was soon deleted, read: “In January, as I think it is known by some of the rugby community, I was arrested on suspicion of having committed a very serious offence. A necessarily lengthy police investigation followed but I can now confirm that no further action is to be taken against me.

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“I have not been charged with any offence. Whilst I never doubted my innocence, I understand that the investigation had to be handled with care and sensitivity for the protection of all involved. Although innocent of the crime alleged against me, I take full responsibility for having put myself in a situation where an allegation could be made against me.

“I am working hard to improve as a person using what the incident has taught and shown me. I want to apologise to all my family and friends for the hurt and distress I have caused them. Their love and support gave me the strength to see a positive future, and I look forward to resuming my career doing what I love which is playing rugby.”

It was a few days later at his weekly media briefing that Sale boss Alex Sanderson, speaking ahead of their start to the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season, confirmed that the club had parted company with Yarde during the off-season. “He left by mutual agreement. That was sometime in the summer because of all the negative press and all the association.

“This is a sticky subject because I care for him and his family and I was the correspondence for him and his mum, so I am not going to go into his mental state or the difficulties he has had over the last eight months which have been extreme. Extreme. I can just say right now from what I hear he is in a good place and he is looking to keep playing the game.”


That Yarde ambition to keep on playing will now be realised ten months on from his last Premiership appearance for Sale as he has been named by coaches Geordan Murphy and John Mulvihill in a 23-strong Barbarians squad that also features former Northampton pair Luther Burrell and Tom Wood, along with Danny Cipriani, Dan Robson, Owen Williams and Francois Hougaard.

Barbarians president John Spencer said: “We are delighted to be able to bring the popular Saints faces of Luther and Tom back to Northampton, as well as a squad with a large Wasps and Worcester Warriors contingent, and a sprinkling of seasoned internationals too. We are confident that this is a group that can dazzle a Northampton crowd with our world-famous Baa-Baas skill, flair and passion come November 26.”

The exhibition fixture at Northampton replaces the Premiership game that was originally scheduled for that afternoon against Worcester, who were suspended from playing for the remainder of the 2022/23. The Warriors and Wasps both fell into administration in recent weeks, leaving all their players and staff unemployed.

Barbarians (provisional squad vs Northampton, November 26)
Forwards (13): Will Boyde, Tim Cardall, Tom Cruse, Hika Elliot, Ben Harris, Brok Harris
Graham Kitchener, Murray McCallum, Ben Morris, Olly Robinson, John Ryan, Elliott Stooke, Tom Wood;


Backs (10): Luther Burrell, Danny Cipriani, Will Haydon-Wood, Jonah Holmes, Francois Hougaard, Perry Humphreys, Dan Robson, Gareth Simpson, Owen Williams, Marland Yarde;

Coaches: Geordan Murphy, John Mulvihill.


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