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09th Feb 2022

A Barbarians dream team that would give the Six Nations a decent crack

Patrick McCarry

“Get them all in, and we can have a party with the Baa Baas!”

For the past decade, Italy have been dealing with calls for relegation to be brought into the Six Nations, or for another side to take their place. Playing a Barbarians side in the Six Nations, though? That is a new one.

For nine months of the year, Italy are allowed to crack on with their rugby. Since they first entered the championship, two decades ago, they have enjoyed famous wins over France, Ireland and Scotland. Unfortunately for them, those wins are often followed by losing streaks and heavy defeats.

Conor O’Shea came in to try and add some underage structures and pathways, but Test wins were all too rare. Kieran Crowley is head coach now, and Italy are much improved, in recent years, but so is every other country.

There is talk of South Africa possibly joining an expanded ‘Seven Nations’ while Crowley bullishly suggested that relegation from the championship could suck down Wales or Scotland if they had a bad year. He also pointed out that England finished fifth in last year’s championship.

One rugby fan has come up with a novel Barbarians idea, though, and the squad one could assemble from it – even just going off the existing nations – would challenge most sides in world rugby.

The Barbarians Class of 2021.

A northern hemisphere Barbarians team

In our search for fresh-thinking and controversial rugby opinions from our readers and followers, we happened upon an intriguing idea from Graham Rowe.

A Cornish native and passionate rugby fan, currently residing in Ulster, Rowe commented:

“Italy are taking up room in the Six Nations. Georgia are even worse than Italy. Get them all out and get a northern hemisphere Baa Baas team in.

“Players like Danny Care, John Cooney and Mike Brown could get in the squad. Players that aren’t getting a chance with their national team coaches. Get them all in, and we can have a party with the Baa Baas!”

That got us mulling, and we got to work. Veering slightly from Graham’s idea of a northern hemisphere Baa Baas side, which could include players from nations like Japan, USA, Georgia, Spain, Canada and more, we focused on the Six Nations sides.

Whether it is due to form, playing styles, differences of opinion, World Cup planning or coaches seeking new directions, several class players are on the outside, looking in during this Six Nations. We are

When it comes to quality scrum-halves alone, here are some of the top No.9s missing out on the fun:

  • John Cooney
  • Rhys Webb
  • Danny Care
  • Baptiste Serin
  • Kieran Marmion
  • George Horne
  • Luke McGrath

We put out best [three] minds to the task and selected what is a strong Barbarians XV that could easily slot into the Six Nations.

Scrumhalf was the toughest selection, but there were a real dog-fight for the hooker position, as well as openside and fullback.


15: Adam Radwan (England)
14: Owen Lane (Wales)
13: Arthur Vincent (France)
12: Stu McCloskey (Ireland)
11: Simon Zebo (Ireland)
10: Adam Hastings (Scotland)
9: Danny Care (England)

1: Mako Vunipola (England)
2: Pierre Bourgarit (France)
3: Dorian Aldegheri (France)
4: Will Griffiths (Wales)
5: Ultan Dillane (Ireland)
6 Jack O’Donoghue (Ireland)
7: Sam Underhill (England)
8: Billy Vunipola (England)

Replacements: Nicky Smith (Wales), Sean Cronin (Ireland), John Ryan (Ireland), Fineen Wycherley (Ireland), James Botham (Wales), Rhys Webb (Wales), Ross Byrne (Ireland), Sean Maitland (Scotland)

Other names considered were Fraser Brown, Conor Oliver, Thomas Young, Dave Kearney, Scott Williams and Anthony Bouthier.