Former Ireland international Rory Best to captain Barbarians in clash with Wales

Rory Best has played his last game for Ireland, retiring from international rugby after the World Cup
Rory Best has played his last game for Ireland, retiring from international rugby after the World Cup

Former Ireland captain Rory Best will captain the Barbarians team to play Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

France centre Mathieu Bastareaud lines up in midfield alongside South Africa's Andre Esterhuizen, while Curwin Bosch and Bryn Hall are the half-backs.

Best lines up in the front row with Fiji's Campese Ma'afu and Wiehahn Herbst, while Pete Samu, Marco Van Staden and Josh Strauss form the back row.

Barbarians head coach Warren Gatland is making an emotional return to Cardiff after ending his 12-year stint with Wales earlier this month.

"It's been a great experience, getting to know players I've not worked with before," Gatland said. "The guys have bonded and had a bit of fun, as well as getting serious as well.

"I'm just looking forward to Saturday. It's a great opportunity for me to say thank you to the fans and the Welsh public for 12 brilliant years."

Justin Tipuric will captain Wales and Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl is to make his first appearance.

Justin Tipuric in action against New Zealand
Justin Tipuric in action against South Africa

New coach Wayne Pivac has named a pack who all featured at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, with Tipuric joined in the back-row by Aaron Shingler and Aaron Wainwright.

Lock forwards Jake Ball and Adam Beard also figure, with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Dillon Lewis named in the front-row.

Cardiff Blues half-backs Tomos Williams and Jarrod Evans link up with Hadleigh Parkes and Owen Watkin partnered in midfield. Uncapped McNicholl will line-up in a back three alongside Josh Adams and Leigh Halfpenny.

Former Scarlets boss Pivac, who has succeeded his fellow New Zealander Gatland, said: "This week has been hugely exciting and hugely important for us as a group.

"It has been an opportunity for us as a new squad and management to get together and to set the scene for what the future holds.

"There has been quite a lot of learnings for the squad this week, looking at what we are trying to do and us providing some clarity but we have also stressed the enjoyment factor of being together for the first time and the excitement of not only this weekend but the future."

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