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Bundee Aki pulls out of Baa-Baas squad as a precaution after ankle injury

The Connacht centre was due to captain the invitational side against England but rolled his ankle in training.

Aki is expected to be fit for Ireland's first Test in Australia.
Aki is expected to be fit for Ireland's first Test in Australia.
Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

BUNDEE AKI HAS been forced to withdraw from the Barbarians squad for Sunday’s clash with England, but the injury isn’t thought to be serious enough to make him a doubt for Ireland’s first Test against Australia.

The Connacht centre was due to captain the Baa-Baas at Twickenham but has pulled out as a precaution after rolling his ankle during a training session with his province in Galway.

Joe Schmidt names his Ireland squad for Australia tomorrow and Aki is expected to be fit for the tour opener in Brisbane on 9 June, despite his omission from Pat Lam’s finalised 23-man panel for Sunday.

The Barbarians coach will also be without Charles Piutau, who suffered an Achilles tendon injury before Ulster’s Champions Cup play-off win over Ospreys at the weekend, while Sale Sharks have withdrawn out-half AJ MacGinty.

It means Lam has added five extra players to his squad for the annual Quilter Cup fixture against Eddie Jones’ side, with Connacht prop Denis Buckley among those called up as he joins team-mate Niyi Adeolokun in the selection.

Scotland out-half Finn Russell, World Cup-winning centre Malakai Fekitoa and Fiji’s Josh Matavesi come into a star-studded back line, with flanker Nili Latu of Newcastle Falcons the final addition.

“It’s unfortunate that Charles Piutau strained an achilles tendon warming up for Ulster on the weekend, Bundee Aki rolled an ankle in training in Galway and AJ MacGinty has been pulled out by his club,” Lam said.

“But it’s great that we’re able to call in some more quality players following the weekend’s semi-finals. Finn Russell comes in from Glasgow, Malakai Fekitoa from Toulon and Josh Matavesi from Newcastle, and they’ll all add to the Barbarians way.

“I’ve worked with Denis Buckley at Connacht and he’s a powerful scrummager with a high work rate around the pitch while Nili Latu has just finished a superb spell at Newcastle and his destructive power and experience across the back row will be a great asset for us.”

Barbarians squad (v England):

Backs

Niyi Adeolokun (Connacht & Ireland)
Chris Ashton (Toulon & England)
Malakai Fekitoa (Toulon & New Zealand)
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont & Scotland)
Luke McAlister (Toulon & New Zealand)
Josh Matavesi (Newcastle Falcons & Fiji)
Semi Radradra (Toulon)
Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors & Scotland)
Josua Tuisova (Toulon & Fiji)
Rhodri Williams (Bristol & Wales)

Forwards

John Afoa (Gloucester & New Zealand)
Denis Buckley (Connacht)
Ultan Dillane (Connacht & Ireland)
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Toulon & Argentina)
Ramiro Herrera (Stade Francais & Argentina)
Benjamin Kayser (Clermont & France)
Nili Latu (Newcastle Falcons & Tonga)
Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester & Australia)
Sateleki Timani (Clermont & Australia)
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys & Wales)
Loni Uhila (Clermont)
Flip van der Merwe (Clermont & South Africa)
Victor Vito (La Rochelle & New Zealand)

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