South Africa’s Ruan Pienaar and New Zealand’s Charles Piutau are the latest star recruits joining Vern Cotter’s Barbarians squad at the end of the month.
The Ulster duo will be on duty against England in the Old Mutual Wealth Cup match at Twickenham on May 28 –– before switching sides to line up against the famous invitation club for Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on June 1.
They will be joined by 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 Scotland boss Cotter’s disposal to 14 with more invitations to follow, particularly for the key fly-half role.
Scrum-half Pienaar and utility back Piutau have enjoyed outstanding campaigns for Ulster, both featuring in the Guinness PRO12 Dream Team with Piutau picking up the highly coveted PRO12 Players Player of the Year award.
Pienaar, capped 88 times for the Springboks, will be making his final appearance for Ulster against the Barbarians, following a seven-year spell in Belfast that has seen him become a fans’ favourite at the Kingspan Stadium.
David, Pienaar and Piutau join a back division alongside Australia’s Will Genia and Adam Ashley-Cooper, and Connacht’s Bundee Aki.
Armitage and Tekori are part of a powerful forward group with experienced internationals from five different countries that also includes Argentina’s Patricio Albacete and Facundo Isa, New Zealand’s Corey Flynn and Jeremy Thrush, and France great Thierry Dusautoir.
The Barbarians will face England for the 16th time since 1990 this month, having won seven and lost eight in the overall series. Their 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.
Tickets for the Old Mutual Wealth Cup – England v Barbarians – are available now from £5 for kids and £25 for adults. Visit www.englandrugby.com/tickets
Tickets for Ulster v Barbarians, priced from £20 for adults and £12 for juniors, are on general sale at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets For group offers and hospitality packages call (028) 9049 3222.