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Wales great Rachel Taylor leads Barbarians team against Army

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Wales great Rachel Taylor will lead the Barbarians in their second women’s match when they take on the Army at Aldershot on Saturday (3pm).

The former Wales captain is a universally respected back row forward who won 67 caps before retiring from international duty following the 2017 World Cup.

She appeared in the Barbarians first women's fixture – a 19-0 win against Munster last November – and wants her team to add to the “magic” associated with the famous invitation club.

Entry to Saturday’s match – at the Army Rugby Stadium in Aldershot – is free.

"I was speechless to be asked,” said Taylor. "I massively enjoyed the experience in Ireland, what it was, the ethos that was created and getting to play in the same team as many of my rivals.

"I was lucky enough to captain Wales but this is kind of a different level. It’s so new, the second-ever game, and we’ve got that opportunity to create a bit of culture and magic. 

"The history around the men’s Barbarians is very deep – nearly 130 years of rugby history – and we want to build on that vibe and creativity.”

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor in Barbarians action against Munster

The Barbarians, coached by Wasps’ Giselle Mather, already have the foundations in place.

 

Nine of the squad in Ireland are back augmented by newcomers like of New Zealand’s Kayla McAlister, Spain’s Isabel Rico Vazquez and Germany’s Nora Baltruweit and the squad have 729 caps between them.

Taylor is one of four Welsh internationals in the group with prop Catrin Edwards, wing Elen Evans and scrum half Sian Moore.

She wants the Barbarians to take their inventive approach a step further than they did in a downpour in Limerick last year – while building similar levels of friendship with former rivals.
"I enjoyed meeting a lot of the England girls,” she said.

"We’d seen a lot of them in the Six Nations but you get to know people like Purdy (Claire Cripps) properly and see how funny she is off the pitch. When you pay against someone all you really see is that competitive edge. 

"As cheesey as it sounds, we were only together for a few days but we’ll be friends for life.

“On the pitch, everyone likes to see the Barbarians do something crazy.

"In the first game we were very conscious of the need to perform well, play well and win, so there was that pressure on us but I hope that this time we’re able to do more of that. 

"The Army will be tough and they’ve got big games coming up so I’m sure they might be more structured. It should make for a fascinating game of contrasts.”

BARBARIANS SQUAD

Forwards
Tracey Balmer (Worcester & Scotland) 43 caps
Nora Baltruweit (Wasps & Germany) 2
Claire Cripps (Wasps & England) 43
Catrin Edwards (Llandaff North & Wales) 70
Katharine Evans (Saracens)
Amy Garnett (Saracens & England) 100
Rosemarie Jermine (Lichfield & England) 27
Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere & Ireland) 54
Isabel Rico Vazquez (Olimpico de Pozuelo & Spain) 27
Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere & Ireland) 40
Rachel Taylor (Caernarfon & Wales, captain) 67
Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians & Ireland) 51

Backs
Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond & England) 9
Elen Evans (Caernarfon & Wales) 73
Sydney Gregson (Bristol & England) 3
Vicki Jackson (Wasps & England) 2
Kayla McAlister (Galwegians & New Zealand) 20
Sian Moore (Worcester & Wales) 19
Georgina Roberts (DMP Sharks & England) 15
Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere & Ireland) 50
Tina Veale (Wasps & England) 2
Jessica Wooden (Harlequins & USA) 13
Management
Head coach: Giselle Mather (Wasps). Assistant coach: Liza Burgess (Gloucester-Hartpury). Manager: Fiona Stockley. Assistant manager: Susie Brown. Physio: Alex Hunter.