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Barbarians vs Fiji

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LONDON, 14 December 2023

Barbarian F.C. are delighted to announce an unmissable fixture against Fiji at
Twickenham Stadium in the summer of 2024.


The Killik Cup will be on the line on Saturday 22 June (kick-off 3pm), with Robbie Deans
leading the Barbarians against an all-star Fiji line-up – who set pulses racing at this
autumn’s Rugby World Cup on their way to the quarter-finals.


General admission tickets go on sale on Thursday 14 December at 11am from
www.ticketmaster.co.uk/barbarians, with tickets starting from £30* for Adults and
£15* for Under-16s.


John Spencer, President of the Barbarians, said: “We’re thrilled to be returning to
Twickenham and facing Fiji, a fixture that always brings huge enjoyment to players and
fans alike.


“As we saw so brilliantly demonstrated during the men’s Rugby World Cup 2023, Fiji play
rugby with huge passion and creativity on display – very much the style of the
Barbarians. The Killik Cup 2024 will be an incredible showcase of passion, flair and fast-
paced rugby from both sides. We can’t wait.”


This will be Deans’ sixth time coaching the BaaBaas; the 64-year-old Kiwi masterminded
victories over Ireland (2015) and Fiji (2016), and oversaw a draw with South Africa
(2016), as well as defeats to New Zealand (2017) and England (2015). Most recently, he
coached alongside Warren Gatland when the Barbarians faced Wales in 2019.


“I’m very excited to return to Twickenham,” Deans said. “It’s a place where you step out
into that arena, and you just want to lace up your boots and play. Obviously, you can’t do
that forever, so I’m looking forward to making the most of this opportunity to get back
there.


“It’s a privilege to pull that Barbarians jersey on, and we’ll certainly be motivated to put
on a show and play with the classic, free-flowing style of the BaaBaas.”


Deans has been Director of Rugby of Saitama Wild Knights since 2014, winning five
Japanese league titles in his tenure in Ōta City. Previously, the five-cap All Black spent
five years coaching Australia (2008-13), after eight years with the Crusaders (2000-08)
where he also won five Super Rugby championships.


And despite enjoying a distinguished coaching career so far, Deans insists that taking the
helm with the BaaBaas remains one of the highest honours available in rugby.

“For me, the Barbarians are the gatekeepers of the soul of the game,” he said.


“Witnessing that unbelievable Barbarians try at Cardiff Arms Park in 1973 is what latched
me onto the game, and I’ve got no doubt that it had the same impact on a lot of people.


“The moment ignited the spirit of the Barbarians. The game was amateur at the time,
and now obviously people are well-paid professional players, but the Barbarians remind
us all that rugby is still a game at the end of the day, and that we have a responsibility to
the generations that follow.”


For Fiji, it will be a first return to HQ since their stunning 30-22 victory over England (the
first time they had ever defeated the Red Rose) in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match
back in August.


The Flying Fijians went from strength to strength at the tournament in France, capturing
the hearts of the neutrals with their high-octane style of play and reaching the last eight
for the first time in 16 years, before a narrow quarter-final loss to England.


“Playing the Barbarians is a wonderful opportunity for the Flying Fijians,” said Simi
Valenitabua, Interim Administrator at Fiji Rugby Union. “They come with a great
reputation of fantastic running rugby, very similar to the Fijian philosophy for how we like
to play the game.


“Fiji is grateful for the chance to play against the Barbarians at Twickenham, an iconic
rugby venue. The Club has a rich 130-year history with many of the greats of rugby
representing them in that time.


“Games like these are invaluable to Fiji Rugby, alongside World Rugby’s continued
support to our game with the Fijian Drua Super Rugby team.”


Boasting a star-studded line-up which includes the likes of Waisea Nayacalevu, Semi
Radradra, Levani Botia, and Josua Tuisova among others, Deans has been impressed with
the progress Fiji have made on the pitch over the last 12 months.


He said: “They have played some great rugby, and they’re only going to get better
without a doubt. Access to Super Rugby with the Fijian Drua has been a fillip for them;
it’s helped with their depth, so they’re going to go from strength to strength.


“Everyone would have been aware of them before the World Cup, but the likes of
Nayacalevu and Botia are remarkable footballers. Across the board though, they
impressed, and grew in terms of their teamwork.


“The last time Fiji played at Twickenham they were successful, so I’m sure they will be
keen to recreate those fireworks again at the home English rugby.”


Barbarian F.C. are the current holders of the Killik Cup, having edged out the World XV
48-42 in last summer’s blockbuster showdown at HQ.


They have faced Fiji four times to date, winning twice in 2013 (coached by Steve Hansen
at Twickenham Stadium) and 2016 (coached by Deans at Kingspan Stadium). But the
most-recent meeting between the sides in 2019 ended 33-31 to Fiji, as they overcame a
BaaBaas team led by Eddie Jones in a ten-try thriller at Twickenham.


BJ Mather, General Manager of High Performance at Fiji Rugby, added: “These matches
play an important role in the development of our players on the international stage.
“Our 2019 fixture against the Barbarians provided a brilliant building block, which
culminated in a successful Rugby World Cup campaign in 2023.

“This match will start that four-year process again and we look forward to an action-
packed day full of tries and entertaining rugby for the fans at Twickenham.”


General admission tickets go on sale from Thursday 14th December at 11am.
Visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk/barbarians to secure your seat, with tickets
starting from £30* for Adults and £15* for Under-16s.
For a 10% discount on groups of 10 or more, please visit
www.eticketing.co.uk/rfu/events. Hospitality packages will be available in
January 2024 – visit www.twickenhamstadium.com.

*booking fees apply


For media enquiries please contact:
Jack Miller – [email protected], 07701 069692


NOTES TO EDITORS

About Barbarian F.C.


Barbarian F.C. is affectionately known as the world’s most famous rugby club.
Steeped in history, the Club dates back to 1890, born with a simple aim; to spread
good fellowship by creating a team made up of the greatest rugby players from
around the world. With neither ground nor clubhouse, its membership is by invitation
only, and their jersey has always been black and white.


The Barbarians’ values are rooted in flair, courage, spirit and passion, alongside
integrity, friendship and enjoyment. The Club aims to take the unique Barbarian
brand of rugby and core values around the world through fixtures and supporting
rugby through the Barbarians Rugby Charitable Trust.


Barbarian Women was formed in 2017, with their first fixture against Munster. The
women’s side has since played in the USA, South Africa, at Twickenham and at the
Principality Stadium including as part of double headers with the men’s side.


Over the years, 34 different nationalities have represented the ‘BaaBaas’, and
players from across the globe will once again come together in the week leading up
to the fixture in June to form one formidable Barbarians squad to take on Fiji.


About Killik & Co

Killik & Co is an independently owned partnership that has been advising clients how
to save, plan and invest for their families for over thirty years. Originally founded by
Paul Killik in 1989, today Killik & Co services clients from all over the UK, connecting
them to global investment opportunities. Its award-winning services include advised
and managed investing, wealth planning, will writing and tax and trusts advice. Its
app-based service, Silo, was launched in 2018 and allows users to effortlessly save
and invest in a range of expertly selected funds.
www.killik.com

Content & Images from – Barbarians Rugby


6 Nations

Keenan’s Injury Rehab ‘Progressing Well’ As Ireland Squad Link Back Up Together

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Hugo Keenan was always confident that Ciaran Frawley would perform well against Wales last week, with the Skerries man marking his first start for Ireland by running in the hosts’ third try of the game.

Frawley deputised at full-back as Andy Farrell’s men made it three bonus point wins on the trot to extend their lead at the top of the Guinness Men’s Six Nations table to six points. Calcutta Cup winners Scotland are now their closest challengers.

It was a rare match for Keenan to miss, and such has been the ever-dependable Dubliner’s importance to the team during Andy Farrell’s reign, he has started 38 of their last 43 Tests. Only Jimmy O’Brien, Michael Lowry, and now Frawley, have stood in for him during that time.

Currently rehabbing the knee injury that he picked up against Italy, and with his sights set on returning against England on Saturday week, Keenan is hopeful of being available for selection for the trip to Twickenham.

“That’s the plan, hoping to get back for England. I was sad not to be out there at the weekend. Always tough watching from the stand, but rehab’s progressing well,” he said, speaking at an event to promote Energia’s #HalfAFan campaign.

“I’ve been worked hard. I’ve been in rehabbing the last day or two as well while the rest of the squad’s been off, so it’s always the annoying side of it, you don’t really get your days off.

“I’m happy with how it’s coming along, and progressing well. No (contact training), not fully quite there but we haven’t been in this week.

“We’re linking back up together tomorrow (Wednesday), we are going to be based in Energia (Park), then we’ve got the open training session (at the Aviva Stadium) on Thursday. Not too far off getting fully involved, so looking forward to being back.”

It is easy to forget that Keenan won four of his first six international caps on the wing, towards the tail end of 2020 and those uncertain Covid-19 times. Since then he has very much cemented himself as Ireland’s first choice full-back, and one of the best in the position worldwide.

Having been ever-present during last year’s Grand Slam-winning campaign and the Rugby World Cup, the 27-year-old is itching to get back to full fitness and ensure that it is only one game he has to sit out.

Commenting on the timeframe for his recovery, he explained: “I suppose the injury happened in the Italy game and four weeks from that would be the England game. I was trying to get back for the Wales match. It was just a week or two too early.

We sort of treated it – since we’ve known I’d be out – as a four-week injury. There was no point rushing me straight back into something I’m not ready for.

“So, I’m hoping to build up the load over the next 10 or so days leading up to it to get right for that one. You don’t enjoy the time on the sideline but hopefully it will be a case where I just miss one.

“It wouldn’t have been the worst timing because maybe sometimes a four-week injury in the middle of a Six Nations you miss three games rather than just one. Hopefully I’m getting lucky with that.”

Reflecting on how he sustained the injury, Keenan fell awkwardly in a 52nd-minute tackle from Italy replacement Giosuè Zilocchi. Just moments earlier, he had spearheaded a breathless attack from deep, breaking onto Craig Casey’s chip kick and bringing play close to the Italian 22.

“I saw him (Zilocchi) coming out of the corner of my eye, so I managed to get my legs off the ground, which meant a lot of the impact was taken, so it was nothing too serious.

“I tried to shake it off, but it probably wasn’t one I could have. We were in a comfortable position at that stage as well.

“You always are a small bit nervous, but we’ve got great doctors and great physios. They cleared my knee for a large part going into it (the scan), so I was pretty confident it was something pretty minor. I was reassured soon enough so it was all good.”

Frawley’s 80 minutes against Wales – ‘solid enough’ according to head coach Farrell – will certainly help to build more depth at full-back.

Jack Crowley got some game-time in the position against Italy, while of Ireland’s extended Six Nations squad, Jordan Larmour and Jacob Stockdale have also had international starts at full-back.

Mack Hansen (shoulder) and O’Brien (neck) will add to those back-field options on their return from injury later in the year. In the meantime, Keenan praised his Leinster colleague for his performance last Saturday, but would understandably rather be out there himself as Ireland’s last line of defence.

“I’ve been lucky enough that I haven’t been in that situation (sidelined for match week) too many times. I’ve had a good run of injuries.

“It’s something I don’t enjoy too much, I get nervous, I get worried. You can’t control anything when you’re on the side of the pitch, while when you’re in amongst it you’re distracted more, you’re just focused on the challenge in front of you.

“I thought Frawls went very well, didn’t he? It was great to see it. I don’t think anyone had any doubts about him, he’s an incredible footballer. We’ve all seen it for Leinster, and the small bits that he’s got a chance with a green jersey as well.

“He’s got a bit more time at 15, and I think there were probably a few question marks around who would play there with Jimmy and Mack out, but we were all very confident in him.

“It was great for him to get settled in early and get a try as well. I was delighted for him,” he added.

Energia ambassador Hugo Keenan was speaking as part of Energia’s #HalfAFan campaign. As proud partner of the Ireland Men’s and Women’s rugby teams, Energia understands that being a partner to both teams means showing support for both – so don’t just be #HalfAFan.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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6 Nations

‘It’s A Great Appointment’ – Farrell On Murphy’s Move To Ulster

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With Dan McFarland stepping down as Ulster head coach this week, it has been confirmed that Murphy will take over the role on an interim basis following the conclusion of the Under-20 Six Nations Championship.

The Ireland Under-20s are in title contention again thanks to two opening wins, with Murphy having overseen back-to-back U-20 Grand Slam successes and a World Rugby U-20 Championship final appearance in the last two seasons.

Farrell first worked alongside Murphy when they were defence coach and skills and kicking coach respectively, during Joe Schmidt’s coaching reign with Ireland.

The pair have kept up a strong connection with Murphy continuing for a short while as a specialist kicking resource for the senior squad, and the Under-20s often training with Farrell’s men during the Six Nations window.

“I think it’s a great appointment. I think Richie will do a fantastic job (at Ulster), his rugby knowledge is second to none,” commented Farrell.

“He is a very experienced guy that has been an assistant for quite some time and I know that he worked with us for a short period before we went to the Under-20s, but that was his next step to take that type of mantle on and do it his way.

He has certainly done a fantastic job. I mean, coaching the Under-20s is coaching in its purest form, it’s bloody difficult because of the swapping and changing the whole time each year.

“It shows exactly the quality that he’s got and his knowledge of the whole game. I think the players up at Ulster there will love him.

“His attitude is great but first and foremost I think they will respect his knowledge, definitely.”

McFarland was in charge of Ulster since 2018 and guided them to the PRO14 final two years later. They looked to be finding form again with a trio of wins over Racing 92, Connacht, and Leinster, coming into the New Year.

However, last Sunday’s poor 19-17 defeat at the Ospreys was their third loss in a row, leaving them eighth in the BKT United Rugby Championship, and came just a few weeks after failing to reach the last 16 of the Investec Champions Cup.

Assistant coach Dan Soper will take the reins for their next URC fixture at home to the Dragons on Saturday week, before Murphy comes on board for their two-match tour to South Africa where they will play the Hollywoodbets Sharks and the DHL Stormers.

The Bray man will have to quickly get up to the speed as the Ulstermen then travel to Montpellier in the EPCR Challenge Cup’s round of 16, just after Easter. Given the people involved, Farrell is confident they can turn things around at Kingspan Stadium.

“Look, it’s obvious that we want all the provinces playing at the top of their game. If that happens, it’s a special place to be but it doesn’t tend to happen that often, does it?

“One thing I know for sure is that Ulster have got a fantastic squad and good people up there. The lads that we have within our squad are exemplary to the province, as far as their attitudes are concerned whether they’re playing or not.”

A dislocated toe, suffered during that loss to the Ospreys, means Iain Henderson is unavailable for Ireland’s clash with Wales on Saturday. His Ulster colleague, Stuart McCloskey, is one of only two backs on the hosts’ bench as they opt to return to a six-two split.

New-look Wales, who lost their first two games to Scotland and England by a combined three points, come to Dublin with a squad that has accumulated 662 caps, compared to Ireland’s 1012.

119 of those caps are provided by George North alone, while 21-year-old Exeter Chiefs lock Dafydd Jenkins continues as captain, and Cardiff back rower Mackenzie Martin could make his debut off the bench.

Asked what he is expecting from Wales this weekend, Farrell replied: “Playing against Wales, you know it’s always going to be a scrap.

“You know that every single time Wales play against Ireland, it means probably a little bit more to them, I’ve been told (that) over the years.

“So we’re aware of that, and we also know as well that Wales historically have got better throughout the competition.

“We’re five weeks into it come the weekend, from when we first started training. We know that they’ll be better and hopefully we’ve used our time wisely as well.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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6 Nations

Wales team to face Ireland in Dublin named

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Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named the Wales side to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the third round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 24 February (KO 2.15pm live on ITV and S4C).

There is one change to the starting XV that played England at Twickenham on 10 February, with Sam Costelow returning for Wales at fly half.

Among the replacements back-row Mackenzie Martin is in line to win his first senior cap this weekend and would become the 1,200th Wales men’s international.

.

Tight-head prop Dillon Lewis would be making his first appearance of this Championship if called on from the bench.

Gatland said: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We’ve made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 24 February KO 2.15pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C.
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain / Capten
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)

Replacements

16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


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