Business and pleasure for new Barbarians

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The shop window provided by clashes with South Africa and Fiji is not lost on new Barbarians Andrew Ready and Kwagga Smith.

Reds hooker Ready enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Queensland franchise and he is all too aware of the prestige and opportunities pulling on the famous black and white hoops can bring, not to mention the good times to be had.

“At the end of the day I’m all about having a bit of fun so the environment should really suit me,” he said. 

“A lot of people here are really trying to prove a point to put their name out there for higher honours. Hopefully I can put my best foot forward to really do that. I’m looking forward to a tremendous atmosphere at Wembley and hopefully one to remember.”

Baa-Baas boss Robbie Deans, who coached the Australian national side for five years, is just one of the pools of wisdom the young hooker is hoping to tap into.

“Just to be in this environment is unbelievable, interacting with some of the names that are here is great,” said Ready.

"It’s such an honour to play for Robbie [Deans]. I can’t speak highly enough of him and you only ever hear good things about him. I can’t really say much more than that.”

Facing senior international opposition will be a first for the 23 year-old but he’s aware of what to expect and is revved up for the weekend.

“It’s my first chance to play in the Test environment against a Test team so I’m looking forward to it. I know in Super Rugby the South Africans are massive humans! I can’t wait to go up against them and see how we go.

“I’m feeling fresh and ready to get out there again. We had a long season and four weeks off feels like forever. I can’t wait to get back out there again.”

While Ready is in the Barbarians starting line-up, South Africa’s Olympic Sevens star Kwagga Smith will wait for his opportunity in next week’s tour matches against the Czech Republic and Fiji.

The flanker won a bronze medal in Rio, now combines a Sevens and 15-a-side career, and was delighted to have been called up by the Baa Baas.

“It’s a huge honour for me to be able to wear the jersey and play with these guys,” said Smith.

“So far it’s been great. It’s a great experience to play with people you normally play against and for world-class players to come together and playing for one team.”

While familiar with English rugby grounds, after having played at Twickenham with the Springbok Sevens, Smith says he’s excited about the prospect of playing in a ground as large as Wembley.

Smith said that the chance to get back to a more relaxed form of the game with the Barbarians is something he is relishing.

“We want to play for each other and not to be too serious about it - if somebody makes a mistake, then we’ll just make it right and play together as a team,” he said.

“I love the atmosphere with the Baa Baas. I’m not the kind of guy who’s really serious, I like to be relaxed and not put pressure on myself.

“It’s actually a simple game that we play but some people can make it so complicated and I think that’s what I like about the Barbarians. We all have the same goal; we just want to enjoy the game.”

Tickets to the Barbarians v South Africa match for the Killik Cup at Wembley Stadium are available from £20* Visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk Other tickets from £40 adults, £20 concessions (U18 & 60+) & family packages. (*Limited tickets available. Booking fees apply)