Willemse, Kockott start for Barbarians

Paul Willemse (Getty Images)
Paul Willemse (Getty Images)

Belfast - Ireland’s Ian Madigan and Mike Ross both start for the Barbarians against Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium on Thursday night.

Flyhalf Madigan and tighthead prop Ross are part of a heavyweight invitation side showing nine changes to the one beaten 28-14 by England on Sunday.

Head coach Vern Cotter also fields what may be the biggest pack in the club’s 127-year history, weighing in at a combined 945kg.

Giant Montpellier lock Paul Willemse, a former Junior Springbok, has been added to the squad and starts in the second row with Argentina’s Patricio Albacete. Joe Tekori - a try-scorer against England - is at No 6 alongside Thierry Dusautoir and Facundo Isa. Ross lines up with Corey Flynn and Pau’s Chris King in the front row.

The backline is full of the Barbarians’ traditional attacking flair. France’s Rory Kockott comes in at scrumhalf to partner Madigan, Robbie Fruean and Waisea Nayacalevu are in the centre with Argentina's Horacio Agulla and Castres’ David Smith on the wings, England’s Alex Goode is at fullback for the second time in five days.

The match is the last in flanker Dusautoir’s glittering career, which has seen him lift Top 14 and European titles, win 80 international caps and lead France a record 56 times.

But any send-off celebrations will be on hold for a while as the Barbarians aim to take their level of performance up another notch in their first meeting with Ulster since 1957.

"This is a very competitive and experienced group of Barbarians players and they felt they left a few tries out there at Twickenham,” Cotter said.

"They are determined to impress against Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium and to live up to everything that goes with representing this historic club.”

Racing’s New Zealand flanker Chris Masoe is a late addition after a calf injury prevented Victor Vito from joining the squad in Belfast.

Barbarians team:

15 Alex Goode (Saracens & England), 14 David Smith (Castres), 13 Waisea Nayacalevu (Stade Francais & Fiji), 12 Robbie Fruean (Bath Rugby), 11 Horacio Agulla (Castres & Argentina), 10 Ian Madigan (Bordeaux Begles & Ireland), 9 Rory Kockott (Castres & France), 8 Facundo Isa (Lyon & Argentina), 7 Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse & France, captain), 6 Joe Tekori (Toulouse & Samoa), 5 Patricio Albacete (Toulouse & Argentina), 4 Paul Willemse (Montpellier), 3 Mike Ross (Leinster & Ireland), 2 Corey Flynn (Star RFC & New Zealand), 1 Chris King (Pau)

Substitutes: 16 Richard Hibbard (Gloucester & Wales), 17 Vincent Pelo (La Rochelle & France), 18 Census Johnston (Toulouse & Samoa), 19 Jeremy Thrush (Gloucester & New Zealand), 20 Chris Masoe (Racing & New Zealand), 21 Kahn Fotuali’i (Bath Rugby & Samoa), 22 Brock James (La Rochelle), 23 Jean-Marcellin Buttin (Bordeaux-Begles & France)

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