Thursday 17 August 2017

Ruan Pienaar and Charles Piutau join Barbarians squad to face England

23 December 2016; Ulster's Charles Piutau, right, and Ruan Pienaar following their victory in the Guinness PRO12 Round 11 match between Ulster and Connacht at the Kingsman Stadium in Belfast. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
23 December 2016; Ulster's Charles Piutau, right, and Ruan Pienaar following their victory in the Guinness PRO12 Round 11 match between Ulster and Connacht at the Kingsman Stadium in Belfast. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

South Africa's Ruan Pienaar and New Zealand's Charles Piutau have been invited to join the Barbarians squad to face England at Twickenham later this month.

The Ulster duo will link up with Vern Cotter's squad on Sunday 28th May before switching sides just four days later to line up against the famous invitation club for Ulster at Kingspan Stadium on Thursday 1st June.

Piutau and Pienaar will be joined in the Baa Baa's squad by former England flanker Steffon Armitage (Pau), Samoa lock Joe Tekori and France centre Yann David (both Toulouse).

The latest call-ups take the number of players at Cotter's disposal to 14 with more invitations to follow, particularly at fly-half.

Scrum-half Pienaar and winger Piutau have both enjoyed outstanding campaigns for Ulster this season with both players featuring in the 2016/17 Guinness PRO12 Dream Team, with Piutau also picking up the PRO12 Players' Player of the Year award in Dublin over the weekend.

Pienaar, capped 88 times by the Springboks, will be making his final appearance for Ulster against the Barbarians following a seven-year stint in Belfast that has seen the 33-year-old develop into an iconic figure at Ravenhill.

David, Pienaar and Piutau will join a backline featuring Australia's Will Genia and Adam Ashley-Cooper, as well as Connacht's Bundee Aki, while Armitage and Tekori are part of a powerful forward pack with experienced internationals from five different countries; including Argentina's Patricio Albacete and Facundo Isa, New Zealand's Corey Flynn and Jeremy Thrush, and France great Thierry Dusautoir, who will sign off on his glittering professional career at the Kingspan.

The Barbarians' match against Ulster is the first time the sides have met since 1957 but the club enjoyed a successful visit to Belfast last November when they beat Fiji 40-7.

Barbarians squad (players named so far):

Backs: Bundee Aki (Connacht), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Bordeaux Begles & Australia), Yann David (Toulouse and France), Will Genia (Stade Francais & Australia), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster & South Africa), Charles Piutau (Ulster & New Zealand).

Forwards: Patricio Albacete (Toulouse & Argentina), Steffon Armitage (Pau & England), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse & France), Corey Flynn (Glasgow Warriors & New Zealand), Facundo Isa (Lyon & Argentina), Census Johnston (Toulouse & Samoa), Joe Tekori (Toulouse & Samoa), Jeremy Thrush (Gloucester & New Zealand).

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