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Former Munster lock O'Driscoll starts for Barbarians

The ex-Ireland international was a late call-up for this afternoon’s clash with Fiji in Twickenham.

O'Driscoll captained that Barbarians in 2012 against Ireland.
O'Driscoll captained that Barbarians in 2012 against Ireland.
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

THE BARBARIANS HAVE named former Munster and Ireland lock Mick O’Driscoll in their starting team to face Fiji this afternoon.

The 35-year-old has been retired since the end of the 2011/12 season, but has previous experience representing BaaBaas, captaining the invitational side against Ireland last year.

Cork native O’Driscoll is part of a star-studded Barbarians XV who take on the Flying Fijians at Twickenham, with a 2.30pm kick-off. The likes of Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis, Steven Luatua and Schalk Burger are all included from that start.

Fiji have been denied that choice of their best players, as this fixture falls outside the official IRB international window, but the game is being played to honour their union’s centenary celebrations. There are a handful of recognisable names, including Chiefs pace merchant Asaeli Tikoirotuma and Glasgow man Nikola Matawalu, who lines out at fullback.

O’Driscoll’s involvement has come about after a late injury to South African second row Flip van der Merwe. The Barbarians might have taken the opportunity to give some international exposure to a younger player, but the ex-Munster lock’s availability and experience were the deciding factors. It adds an element of Irish interest to a game that should serve up a feast of attacking rugby.

Barbarians: Santiago Cordero; Frank Halai, Gavin Williams, Jean de Villiers (capt.), Charles Piutau; Patrick Lambie, TJ Perenara; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Matias Diaz; Mick O’Driscoll, Dominic Bird; Steven Luatua, Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Guillermo Roan, Coenie Oosthuizen, Manuel Carizza, Luke Whitelock, Martin Landajo, Tom Taylor, Willie le Roux.

Fiji: Nikola Matawalu; Adriu Delai, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Levani Botia, Sam Speight; Seremaia Bai, Nemia Kenatale; Campese Ma’afu, Peni Ravai, Manasa Saulo; Api Naikatini, Leone Nakarawa; Mala Ravulo, Sam Matavesi, Nemani Nagusa.

Replacements: Jerry Naureure, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Sete Somoca, Maku Koroiyadi, Netani Talei, Henry Seniloli, Waisea Luveniyali, Alex Rokobaro.

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Murray Kinsella

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