THE BARBARIANS HAVE announced a historic double-header against England at Twickenham in June.
Both the women’s and men’s teams of the famous invitational club will face England on Sunday, 2 June, and not only is it the Baa Baa women’s first appearance at Twickenham, it will also come as the first time the Red Roses play before their male counterparts.
The women’s sides will go head-to-head at 12.45pm as Simon Middleton’s professional England outfit — who beat Ireland 51-7 in their recent Six Nations opener — prepare for their summer Tour in July.
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Former Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan skippered the first Barbarians women’s side to their bow against Munster at Thomond Park in November 2017 as they won 19-0 before then beating the Army.
“The Barbarians successfully launched its women’s team two years ago to bring together talented individuals and create a team that plays with a unique spirit of adventure and enjoyment,” chairman John Spencer said.
“For them to face an international side is a great opportunity for the club to have two teams taking on England at Twickenham and means we can showcase all that is good about the game.”
Eddie Jones’ England men — with Jim Mallinder as head coach on the day — will lock horns with the Barbarians for the 18th time in the Quilter Cup, with kick-off pencilled in for 3.30pm.
Last year, the Baa Baas came out on top of a 63-45 thriller before edging past Argentina in another try-packed encounter in November.
“I’m really excited to be head coach of this England team,” Mallinder said, with the game acting as an ideal last-ditch stab at selection for the World Cup in Japan.
“It’s an important fixture because any time you put the England shirt on you are representing your country and that is a huge honour. Eddie will have his eyes on a certain group, but this will be an opportunity for some players who are just outside of selection to show how talented they are.
A general view of Twickenham. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“The unpredictability of the Barbarians makes it such an exciting fixture for supporters. As we have seen over the past few years they always bring a strong star-studded side and have an adventurous style of playing so we are going to have to be at our very best and are looking forward to the challenge.
“This isn’t just an opportunity for the players, but also for three coaches to experience coaching international rugby and I’m looking forward to working with them for this fixture.”
Jones added: “Our matches against the Barbarians have always been exciting fixtures to be involved with and a good way to finish the season on a high in front of a Twickenham crowd.
“This match will see some exciting talent be given the opportunity to play against a Barbarians side who will no doubt be full of top-quality internationals. I look forward to working with Jim Mallinder in helping prepare the side for this match.”
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