One of the most popular Barbarians of recent years is set to make a stunning return in the Black and White as Harlequins’ Joe Marler is named in the squad in London ahead of the Killik Cup against All Blacks XV on Sunday 13 November.
The popular loosehead prop made his sensational debut for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham in 2019 and subsequently returned to the England fold for the Rugby World Cup 2019 just four months later.
Marler is the latest star to be added to the Barbarians squad to face All Black XV alongside Zach Mercer (England and Montpellier), George Bridge (New Zealand and Crusaders), Camille Chat (France and Racing 92) and Josua Tuisova (Fiji and Lyon), with more big names from the world of rugby to be announced in the coming days.
Super Rugby champions Crusaders’ Head Coach Scott “Razor” Robertson and Stade Rochelais’ Heineken Champions Cup winning Head Coach Ronan O’Gara will lead the famous invitational side for the Killik Cup.
Marler’s memorable appearance for the Barbarians in 2019 highlighted one of the key reasons why star players love turning out for the Barbarians.
The 73-cap international spoke of the Club’s place in modern rugby, talking of the focus on both the camp experience and the social side of rugby – reminding players why they started in rugby at the very beginning.
Speaking of his time in the Barbarians camp, he said: “The Barbarians still have an important place in professional rugby. It’s even more important now to have it because everything is so intense, so pressurised and serious.
“You need to have an opportunity to enjoy rugby for the reasons you started playing for. You just want to pick up the ball and play and have fun.
Marler added: “[The Barbarians] hold onto the core values of the game,” which is a huge part of the Barbarians’ philosophy.
Barbarians President John Spencer said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Joe Marler rejoining us to play the All Blacks XV in November. He is very much the life and soul of any squad he joins and represents the true values of Barbarians rugby.
He will bring both his sense of fun, his experience and the Barbarians ethos into camp and we look forward to welcoming him alongside Zach Mercer, George Bridge, Camille Chat and Josua Tuisova.
“We’re well into the process of assembling a powerful and exciting squad for our November matches, bringing together a group of exceptionally talented players who will dazzle at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with our world-famous BaaBaas skill, flair and passion.”
Marler was included in England’s Rugby World Cup 2019 squad later that year following a sensational return to international rugby just 13 months after announcing his retirement from the international game, featuring in the Final against eventual winners South Africa.
The Barbarians are also set to play a number of domestic fixtures following the disruption to the Gallagher Premiership calendar.
The Barbarians’ first fixture – the Killik Cup – will be against a very strong All Blacks XV team, with Auckland and Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu to captaining the side alongside a host of well-known names.
The visiting side also includes eight players with Test experience including Tuipulotu, Aidan Ross, Angus Ta’avao, Asafo Aumua, Luke Jacobson, TJ Perenara, Brad Weber, and Damian McKenzie.
Bryn Gatland, the son of previous Barbarians Head Coach Warren Gatland, is also included alongside the nephew of Barbarians legend Pat Lam, AJ Lam.
The All Blacks XV follows in the footsteps of similar teams which have assembled throughout New Zealand rugby’s history, and adds a new element to the New Zealand Rugby set-up, representing a development opportunity for future All Blacks – as well as a chance for current players to make their case for All Blacks selection or recall.
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