Barbarians coach Cotter calls up star players

Vern Cotter (AFP)
Vern Cotter (AFP)

London - Barbarians head coach Vern Cotter has named the first group of players for matches against England and Ulster.

The Barbarians face England in the Old Mutual Wealth Cup at Twickenham on May 28, before taking on Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on June 1.

Cotter has called up Adam Ashley-Cooper (Australia), Will Genia (Australia), Facundo Isa (Argentina) and Census Johnston (Samoa), who bring a wealth of Test experience with them, and those four France-based players will be joined by Corey Flynn (New Zealand) and Bundee Aki (New Zealand).

Wing Ashley-Cooper (116 caps) and scrumhalf Genia (75 caps) were World Cup finalists in London in 2015, back row forward Isa was one of the standout stars of last year’s Rugby Championship and prop Johnston has appeared in three World Cups for Samoa.

Veteran hooker Flynn will join the tour squad from Glasgow Warriors along with uncapped Connacht centre Aki, who will qualify by residency for Ireland later this year.

"The Barbarians is all about bringing together talented players from different countries and you can see from the first group of players selected that we’ve been able to do exactly that,” said Cotter, who leaves Scotland to join Montpellier this summer.

“We want to compete hard and to entertain in the best traditions of the club, so I’m looking forward to working towards that goal with all the players we’ll have on board when we meet up next month.”

The Barbarians will face England for the 16th time since 1990 next month, having won seven and lost eight in the overall series. They then take on Ulster for the first time since 1957 but enjoyed a successful visit to Belfast last November where they beat Fiji 40-7.

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