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World Rugby: Barbarians v Tonga underlines club's key role in global game

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World Rugby have praised the role being played by the Barbarians in the development of international sides. The club's contest with Tonga at Thomond Park in Limerick (November 10) will provide high-quality opposition for a nation aiming to shine at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The Baa-Baas are world famous for their ability to bring together great players and take on the giants of the global game like New Zealand – who they face this Saturday – and last weekend’s opponents Australia.

But the club plays an invaluable part in helping other nations become more competitive, as emphasised by World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.

Tonga — one of England’s pool stage opponents in RWC 2019 — will be the latest to benefit from taking on a team of stars in the famous black and white shirts in Limerick on November 10. They will be the 22nd nation to face the Barbarians.

Beaumont said: “The continued development of tier two teams such as Tonga is a key aspect of World Rugby’s work. 

"We have seen the gap between those teams and the very best in the world close significantly at recent Rugby World Cups and that does not happen by accident. It takes a huge amount of work and financial investment by World Rugby and the respective unions to make it happen. 

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont

"In addition, the opportunity to play against quality sides between RWCs is extremely important and the Barbarians have a track record of providing that opposition.”

The Barbarians’ opponents since the turn of the century include Germany, Portugal, Georgia, Tunisia, Spain, Belgium, Fiji, Samoa and the Czech Republic.

“Having played many times for the Barbarians – even captaining the club on a few occasions – I have seen first-hand the excellent work they do to promote rugby around the world,” added Beaumont.

"The club’s ethos of good sportsmanship, inclusivity and diversity fits perfectly with rugby’s character-building values and they have shown that it is possible to forge a modern approach to the game while still holding on to the best traditions of times past. 

"The ‘Baa-Baas’ are of course renowned for playing an entertaining brand of running rugby and so when they take the field in Limerick against Tonga – another team who like to thrill audiences with their attacking philosophy – it is sure to produce an exciting spectacle not to be missed.”

Super Rugby’s most successful coach Robbie Deans takes charge of the team against New Zealand and Tonga.

The former Australia boss led the Barbarians last year when they drew 31-31 with South Africa at Wembley before wins over the Czech Republic (71-0) in Prague and Fiji (40-7) in Belfast.

Deans was also in charge on the Barbarians’ last visit to Thomond Park, when they beat Ireland 22-21 there in May 2015.

INTERNATIONAL OPPOSITION:

The 21 nations the Barbarians have played since 1948 are (in chronological order): Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Fiji, Italy, England, Wales, Argentina, Russia, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Georgia, Tunisia, Spain, Belgium, Samoa, Czech Republic.