Five of Fiji’s 2016 Olympic Gold medallists have been accepted invitations to represent the Barbarians in the inaugural RugbyX tournament at the O2 in London.

Osea Kolinisau captained the Pacific islanders to victory in Rio in 2016 and on October 29 he will lead a side that also contains representatives from Kenya, South Africa and Wales.

England’s Danny Care is coaching the group and the squad also includes two outstanding prospects from his Harlequins club in Louis Lynagh — son of Australia great Michael — and Lennox Anyanwu.

The Olympic gold medallists on duty are Kolinisau, Kitione Taliga, Vatemo Ravouvou, Jasa Veremalua and Samisoni Viriviri — and they will be accompanied by outstanding off-loader Pio Tuwai at the O2.

Also on board are Kenya’s established World Rugby Sevens Series competitors Willy Ambaka and Oscar Ouma as well as former South Africa Sevens captain Kyle Brown and Wales Sevens scrum half Luke Treharne.

Osea Kolinisau

Gold standard: Fiji’s Osea Kolinisau

Full back Lynagh has represented England at Under 16, U18 and U19 levels and is joined by a second 18 year-old in centre Anyanwu, another former England U16 and U18 player.

The new short-format, full contact version of rugby union has been approved by World Rugby and will be played on a 55m x 32m artificial grass pitch, installed on a temporary basis inside the world’s most popular music and entertainment arena.

Participating teams have been drawn from the leading nations competing in HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and Group A consists of England, Ireland and the Barbarians, while France, the USA and Argentina will contest Group B. The women’s competition features England, France, the USA and Ireland.

Luke Treharne

Wales’s Luke Treharne

The group stages and women’s Semi Finals will take place during the 4pm-6pm afternoon session, with the 8.30pm-10.30pm evening session featuring Men’s quarter-sinals and semi-finals, the women’s third-place place match, and the men’s and Women’s finals.

The core fundamentals of full contact rugby are being retained but variations of certain laws have been approved in order to encourage fast and skilful gameplay in an arena environment. There will be quick-tap restarts on the goal-line and no conversions. Line-outs will be replaced by a quick throw from the team in possession and matches will last 10 minutes with no half-time. 

Barbarians squad: Osea Kolinisau, Pio Tuwai, Kitione Taliga, Vatemo Ravouvou, Jasa Veremalua, Samisoni Viriviri (all Fiji), Willy Ambaka, Oscar Ouma (both Kenya), Kyle Brown (South Africa), Luke Treharne (Wales), Louis Lynagh, Lennox Anyanwu (both Harlequins).