Strong Barbarians squad named for South clash

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THE Barbarians have named their squad to take on the South of Scotland at Mansfield Park, Hawick, on Tuesday.

Two of the Georgian World Cup team and two from Romania will be lining up alongside USA fly half Tim Usasz, who captained the Eagles against Australia. Also included in the line-up is Seb Visser of Edinburgh and John Houston, the former Hawick player who now plies his trade with Glasgow – who will be teaming up with Bill McLaren’s grandson Jim Thompson (Edinburgh) as well as a host of top young players with international honours at age grade level. Ireland cap Kieran Campbell and Welsh prop Ben Evans (27 times capped) are also in the squad. It will most certainly be a tough challenge for the best of the club players in the Borders, but a challenge they will all relish and grab with both arms.

Prop Goderzdi Shvelidze of Georgia plays his rugby at Montpellier in France and has won 61 caps for his country, while centre David Kacharava has played 46 times for Georgia and is now with Nice.

Hooker Andrei Radoi and lock Valentin Poparlan from Romania were both at the World Cup, the latter playing against Scotland.

South captain Bruce McNeil is certainly looking forward to testing his strength against the Baa-Baas pack.

He told TheSouthern: “Although the starting line-up hasn’t been finalised yet, I have been training loose head so that is probably where I would expect to be on Tuesday.

“It’s certainly an exciting prospect as their front row is full of experience and that’s really what you want – to have a chance to play and man-up against the best. Hopefully the weather will stay decent and we can look forward to an expansive, exciting game of rugby that will entertain the large crowd that’s expected.”

Barbarians squad: Jim Thompson, Leigh Hinton, Seb Visser, Nathan Brew, David Kacharava, John Houston, Gareth McCarthy, Ross Broadfoot, Kieran Campbell, Tim Usasz, Goderdzi Schvelidze, Jack O’Connell, Ben Evans, Niall Annett, Andrei Radoi, Euros Evans, Valentin Poparlan, Gareth Rawlings, Ciaran Ruddick, Chris Davies, Michael McComish and Rob Baldwin.

The South had their final training session last night at The Greenyards and team manager Richie Gray and coaches Craig Chalmers and John Dalziel are expected to name their final team today.

The Southern Reporter has teamed up with the Bill McLaren Foundation to offer readers a chance to win tickets for the historic game. Two pairs of ground tickets are up for grabs and all you need to do is answer the following question.

Who will captain the South of Scotland team for Tuesday’s game?

Send your answers, with your name and daytime contact number to South of Scotland Competition, The Southern Reporter, The Hermitage, High Street, Selkirk, TD7 4DA or e-mail fionascott@tweedalepress.co.uk

Entries must reach us no later than Monday. Usual T & Cs apply.

Tickets for the match, priced just £10 and £5, are still on sale but selling fast.

The game will kick-off at 4pm on Tuesday, October 11, with all proceeds going to the Bill McLaren Foundation. Tickets are available at www.billmclarenfoundation.co.uk