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Barbarians v Australia – preview

first_img11 Bryan Habana11. Digby Ioane 10 Danny Cipriani10. James O’Connor *Last minute change for the Wallabies – Dave Dennis in for Ben McCalman 17 Salvatore Perugini17. Ben Alexander 3  Sylvain Marconnet6. Scott Higginbotham 12 Stirling Mortlock12. Berrick Barnes 19 Marco Bortolami19. Dave Dennis In at the deep end: Sam Tomkins will make his union debut against the world’s second-best nationYou never know what to expect when the Barbarians come to town – but this weekend’s Killik Cup clash against Australia at Twickenham contains more uncertainties than usual, writes Alan Pearey.1. Foremost among them is the presence of England rugby league full-back Sam Tomkins, whose first game of union will entail marking Digby Ioane! Tomkins is 22 and set league alight when scoring five tries on his debut for Wigan Warriors in 2008. “Sam’s selection underlines that imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery,” said Nigel Wood, the RFL’s chief executive. Bit cocky that! He looks a special talent but surely this union rookie will be exposed against a back-line as sharp as the Aussies?2. The battle of the tens will be fascinating. Danny Cipriani of the Melbourne Rebels returns to Twickenham without the same baggage of expectation weighing him down when he quit English rugby. And with Quade Cooper injured, 36-cap James O’Connor makes a first Test start as a fly-half. He’s a wing or full-back normally, is earmarked as a future inside-centre, and will probably pass his fly-half test with flying colours – he’s sheer class.3.  Like Tomkins, Baa-Baas centre Robbie Fruean is uncapped and at 23 his time to state his case for an All Black shirt has come. Fruean is a former IRB U19 Player of the Year who was struck by illness and needed open-heart surgery. If he and Mortlock don’t cancel out Horne and Barnes it will only be because as a pairing they’ve had almost no time to practise – which of course is the Barbarians’ perpetual problem.4. Will the World Cup-winning All Blacks play like champs or chumps? Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Adam Thomson and Isaia Toea are in the Baa-Baas starting XV and history shows it can be difficult to get back into one’s stride after World Cup celebrations. Unless they stayed off the booze…5. No such issue for Barbarians skipper Victor Matfield, who at 34 will bow out of international rugby after 110 South Africa caps. What a forward he’s been and still is. “He’s a wonderful player and you can see why when you get up close. It’s been a pleasure to work with him,” said Steve Hansen, who’s coaching the Baa-Baas with Graham Henry.The Barbarians have beaten New Zealand and South Africa in recent years but I expect the Wallabies to do a number on them. 18 Jason White18. James Horwill Australia 5  Victor Matfield (C)4. Rob Simmons 21 Richard Kahui21. Nick Phipps LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS 8  Adam Thomson1. James Slipper 9  Peter Stringer9. Will Genia 1  Eusebio Guinazu8. Dave Dennis Replacements:Replacements: LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 23: Sam Tomkins of the Barbarians runs with the ball as Robbie Fruean (L) looks on during the Barbarians Training Session at Latymer Upper School on November 23, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images) 14 Sam Tomkins14. Lachie Turner 13 Robbie Fruean13. Rob Horne 6  Jerome Kaino3. Salesi Ma’afu 4  Simon Shaw5. Nathan Sharpe Starting XV: 16 Adriaan Strauss16. Stephen Moore 2  Keven Mealamu7. David Pocock Barbarians 15 Isaia Toeva15. Adam Ashley-Cooper Starting XV 20 Nemia Kenatale20. Matt Hodgson 7  Mauro Bergamasco2. Tatafu Polota Nau 22 Seru Rabeni22. Ben Tapuailast_img read more