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Sivavatu, James set for Barbarians debut

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Update: 6:17PM New Zealand winger Sitiveni Sivivatu is in line to make his first appearance for rugby's Barbarians when the invitational side play England in a non-cap international at Twickenham on June 1.

Now with French club Clermont, Sivivatu boasts an impressive record of 33 tries in 48 Tests.

He was one of 12 players named Friday in an updated group featuring six All Blacks and including representatives from five other countries with the distinguished dozen boasting more than 400 caps between them.

The remainder of the squad -- coached by Worcester's Dean Ryan -- is due to be confirmed next week.

Among the backs already selected are New Zealand's Jimmy Cowan (Gloucester), Joe Rokocoko (Bayonne) and Hosea Gear (Toulouse), with Australia's James O'Connor (London Irish) also included.

The five forwards chosen thus far include Argentina captain Juan-Martin Leguizamon (Lyon), veteran hooker Andrew Hore, Samoa lock Joe Tekori (Toulouse) and powerful props in Tonga's Sona Taumalolo (Perpignan) and Georgia's Davit Zirakashvili (Clermont).

By tradition, a Barbarians XV always includes at least one uncapped player and Brock James is set to be that man against England, with the Australian fly-half having scored more than 2,200 points in his eight seasons at Clermont.

Former England forward Ryan said: "It's very rarely that you get the opportunity to work with a squad containing this much quality.

"The Barbarians are a special entity and I'm very excited to be involved -- it's as talented a group as you could wish to put together."

Next month's match will serve as a 'warm-up' for England ahead of their three-Test series away to world champions New Zealand.

Although not normally accorded Test status, matches for the Barbarians -- rugby union's most famous invitational side -- have traditionally been regarded as a significant honour for the players selected.

The Barbarians' most celebrated fixture was their 23-11 win against New Zealand in Cardiff in 1973.

Gareth Edwards' opening score, when the outstanding Wales scrum-half finished off a seven-man length-of-the-field move initiated by half-back partner Phil Bennett, is widely regarded as one of rugby's greatest tries.

Updated Barbarians squad (country code indicates Test player):

Backs: Jimmy Cowan (Gloucester/NZL), Hosea Gear (Toulouse/NZL), Brock James (Clermont), James O'Connor (London Irish/AUS), Joe Rokocoko (Bayonne/NZL), Benson Stanley (Clermont/NZL), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Clermont/NZL).

Forwards: Andrew Hore (Unattached/NZL), Juan-Martin Leguizamon (Lyon/ARG), Sona Taumalolo (Perpignan/TGA), Joe Tekori (Toulouse/SAM), Davit Zirakashvili (Clermont/GEO) 

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