New Zealand’s Linda Itunu leads the Barbarians women’s side in their first-ever international assignment against the USA Womens’ Eagles in Denver (Friday, 17:00 local time).

The Black Ferns great captains an experienced line-up including the likes of England legend Rochelle Clark, Wales fly half Elinor Snowsill and Scotland centre Helen Nelson.

And there are two former Eagles players lining up against the USA in the Barbarians squad in lock Carmen Farmer and fly half Hannah Stolba.

Itunu is a three-time World Cup winner with the Black Ferns in 2006, 2010 and 2017 before retiring from international rugby at the end of 2018 and has her New Zealand teammates Emma Jensen, Fiao’o Fa’amausili and Steph Te Ohaere-Fox in her Baa-baas team.

New Zealand players in Glendale

Itunu (right) with Emma Jensen, Fiao’o Fa’amausili, Anna Richards and Steph Te Ohaere-Fox

She’s confident the Barbarians — who have a total of 697 international appearances behind them — will be ferociously competitive against a young and athletic USA side.

Itunu said: “I’m so very honoured to be captain, especially because I’m representing the southern hemisphere and because I’m amongst such great players. It’s a real privilege. 

“I’m really excited because I’ve played against these girls and being able to be on the same side as them means I’m the lucky one. I don’t have to tackle them any more — players on our team like (England’s) Rocky Clark and (Ireland’s) Paula Fitzpatrick are beasts. 

“The USA are a tough side, I know that from playing them last year, and it’ll be an exciting game. But these Barbarians will bring some tricks.”

The game is available to view live globally via the subscription platform.

It will be available free to viewers outside North America from 13:00 UK time on Saturday, April 27, via FloRugby’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

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