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Young's Baa Baas Squad Selected

21st May 2008

Cardiff Blues Centre Gareth Thomas is set to make his Barbarians debut after being named in the 30 man squad, chosen from nine different nations, for the forthcoming series against Belguim, Ireland and England.

Coached by Blues Director of Rugby, David Young, Alfie is joined by Players' Player of the Year Award winner Maama Molitka in the squad as well as former Arms Park favourites scrum half Ryan Powell, who is now with Worcester and Darren Crompton, now with Bristol.

England internationals Iain Balshaw, Lesley Vianikolo, Andy Gomarsall, Mark Regan and Danny Grewcock are also in the Barbarians squad and could face up against the own country in the Gartmore Challenge match on June 1st at Twickenham.

The tour begins with another pioneering trip for the Barbarians across the Channel to Brussels to play Belgium at the King Baudouin Stadium this Saturday (May 24th). It will be the twenty-first country visited by the Barbarians and follows on from recent tours to Portugal, Georgia, Tunisia and Spain. The squad returns to the UK to play Ireland at Gloucester on Tuesday 27 May and then the final game against England.

Former Wales captain Alfie, who has made 103 international appearances for Wales and the British Isles, is joined by Australia's Stephen Larkham, who has 102 test caps for the Wallabies, in the 30 man summer tour that set later this week. Neither of these greats of the game have played for the Barbarians before.

Speaking of the inclusion of Stephen Larkham and Gareth Thomas, new Barbarians club president Micky Steele-Bodger said, “Given the crowded international calendar these days we sometimes have to wait a while before inviting influential test stars to represent the club. It is a particular pleasure to have them with us this year and we are confident that they will enjoy the experience.”

He added, “Like England and Ireland, we have had to cut our selection cloth in line with the European commitments of other clubs this weekend. However, we are delighted that players from Bath and Worcester, for instance, will be joining us in time for the second and third fixtures. Indeed, we are most appreciative of the co-operation we have received from a host of clubs across the board in making players available this year.”

Lesley Vianikolo said, "everyone in rugby knows what the Barbarians stand for and the traditions they hold. To have the chance to represent them is a fantastic honour and something I am really looking forward to."

Barbarians squad to face Belgium, Ireland and England:
Backs: I Balshaw (Gloucester), P Hewat (London Irish), T Delport (Worcester), L Vainikolo (Gloucester), G Thomas (Cardiff Blues), M Turinui (Queensland Reds), J Pretorius (Stormers), S Mapusua (London Irish), T Smith (ACT Brumbies), S Larkham (unattached), G Jackson (Saracens), A Gomarsall (Harlequins), M Claassens (Bath), R Powell (Worcester).
Forwards: F Pucciarello (Munster), C Visagie (Saracens), O le Roux (Leinster), P Collazo (Gloucester), D Crompton (Bristol), M Regan (Bristol), S Bruno (Sale Sharks), J Harrison (Ulster), K Chesney (Saracens), D Grewcock (Bath), R Skeate (Stormers), P Wannenburg (Blue Bulls), M Molitika (Cardiff Blues), D Croft (Queensland Reds), M Chapman (ACT Brumbies), C Newby (Otago Highlanders).
Coach: David Young (Cardiff Blues)
Saturday 24 May v Belgium at King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels (4.00 pm)
Tuesday 27 May v Ireland at Kingsholm, Gloucester (7.45pm) – tickets at 0871 871 8781
Sunday 1 June v England at Twickenham – The Gartmore Challenge (3.00pm) – 0870 9020000