London - Three former Springboks have been named in a Barbarians squad of 22 to take on the British and Irish Lions team at Twickenham.
According to ESPN Scrum's website prop BJ Botha (Munster), lock Marco Wentzel (London Wasps) and flank Francois Louw (Bath) were on Tuesday named amongst a strong contingent of top European-based players and British and Irish Lions cast-offs.
Of the three South African players chosen, only Francois Louw could expect a reasonably good chance of playing for the Springboks this year.
Former Springbok centre Jaque Fourie was initially named as a possible fourth Springbok to play for the Barbarians, however he has subsequently withdrawn from the squad.
Barbarians team manager Derek Quinnell said he was delighted with the quality of players he had so far managed to obtain for his team:
"Our selection process has taken several months and is still not quite complete. Over the next week or so we will be monitoring the domestic play-off matches in Europe and the various national squads for the summer tours. Also, one or two players in the squad announced today may not be available for both of our matches so we expect to add other significant names to the team in the near future."
Former All Blacks Joe Rokocoko and Nick Evans featured in a powerful-looking backline, whilst the likes of Martin Castrogiovanni and Sergio Parisse of Italy in the forwards will also relish a rare opportunity to take on the Lions.
Some players who missed out on Lions selection, such as former Lions Mathew Rees, Dwayne Peel and James Hook of Wales, and Jim Hamilton of Scotland, will be eager to show Lions coach Warren Gatland what he will be missing on the Lions' Tour of Australia.
The Barbarians team features 10 different nationalities with 5 Welshmen, 4 Italians, 3 South Africans, 3 New Zealanders, 2 Frenchmen and 1 player each from England, Scotland, Samoa, the USA and Hong Kong.
The Barbarians will begin their tour against England at Twickenham on May 26 before flying to Hong Kong for their match against the Lions on June 1.
Forwards: Duncan Jones (Ospreys & Wales), B J Botha (Munster & South Africa), Paul James (Bath Rugby & Wales), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester & Italy), Matthew Rees (Scarlets & Wales), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso & Italy), Marco Wentzel (London Wasps & South Africa), Jim Hamilton (Gloucester Rugby & Scotland), Francois Louw (Bath Rugby & South Africa), Sam Jones (London Wasps), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso & Italy), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais & Italy), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz Olympique & France)
Backs: Jared Payne (Ulster), Rowan Varty (DeA Tigers & Hong Kong),
Takudzwa Ngwenya (Bairritz Olympique & USA), Joe Rokocoko (Bayonne
& New Zealand), James Hook (Perpignan & Wales), Nick Evans
(Harlequins & New Zealand), Kahn Fotuali'i (Ospreys & Samoa),
Dwayne Peel (Sale Sharks & Wales), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz
Olympique & France)