Troublemaker Mason, could make union debut

2011-05-25 00:00

LONDON — Australia rugby league international Willie Mason could make his union debut on Sunday against England after being picked by the Barbarians for the team’s two summer matches.

The 31-year-old New Zealand-born forward is in a 24-man squad, which will swell to 26 next week when All Black wing Doug Howlett and Australian flyhalf Brock James join up for the June 4 match against Wales.

Mason scored seven tries in 24 league appearances for Australia in a career marked by disciplinary problems. Club sides Bulldogs and Roosters both fined him for misdemeanours, with the player getting involved in several alcohol-related incidents.

There are 12 countries represented in the squad, with the inclusion of Georgia prop Davit Kubriashvili and Norwegian lock Erik Lund set to take the total of nationalities to represent the Barbarians over 121 years to 31.

Other players picked for the first time by the invitational club side are Italy captain Sergio Parisse, his backup Leonardo Ghiraldini and France flyhalf Frederic Michalak.

England has picked an inexperienced squad containing 13 uncapped players, with the aim of giving squad members a chance to win a place at this year’s World Cup.

South Africans Ruan Pienaar and Joe van Niekerk have also been selected for the squad.



Backs: Benoit Baby (Clermont Auvergne), Mathieu Bastareaud (Stade Francais), Doug Howlett (Munster), Brock James (Clermont Auvergne), Nicolas Jeanjean (Brive), Willie Mason (Toulon), Frederic Michalak (Toulouse), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster), Seru Rabini (La Rochelle), Paul Sackey (Toulon), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Castres), Tim Visser (Edinburgh).

Forwards: Sebastien Bruno (Toulon), Quintin Geldenhuys (Aironi), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Carl Hayman (Toulon), Davit Kubriashvili (Toulon), Erik Lund (Biarritz), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais), Salvatore Perugini (Aironi), George Smith (Toulon), Iosefa Tekori (Castres), Iestyn Thomas (Scarlets), Paul Tito (Cardiff), Joe van Niekerk (Toulon), Martyn Williams (Cardiff).

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