Gloucester v Barbarians preview: Star-studded Baa-Baas come to Kingsholm
Gloucester welcomes the Barbarians to Kingsholm tonight: 19:45 kick-off
Victor Matfield Captains the famous invitational club
World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year Nehe Milner-Skudder starts at fullback for the Baa-Baas
Former Gloucester fan favourite Tim Molenaar returns for a one-off appearance while summer signing Joe Latta makes his debut
The stakes won’t be as high for Wallabies coach Michael Cheika tonight as they were a month ago but the Aussie still has named a talented line-up for the Barbarians clash against with Gloucester at Kingsholm tonight.
The famous invitational club are taking on the Cherry and Whites as part of their 125th-anniversary celebrations and in preparation for their clash with Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.
The team is Captained by Springbok veteran Victor Matfield, who is joined by fellow Bok Lood de Jager in the second-row, while the highly-rated Ardie Savea, who is the younger brother of All Blacks wing Julien, is on the openside flank.
World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year Nehe Milner-Skudder, who touched down six tries during New Zealand’s winning Rugby World Cup campaign, starts at fullback with fellow All Blacks Ryan Crotty and Jamie Mackintosh also named in the starting XV.
Fijian powerhouse Nemani Nadolo, who touched down against England in the World Cup opener, is named on one wing while seven capped Wallabies make up the rest of the team with Joe Tomane, Toby Smith, James Hanson and Stephen Hoiles all in the starting XV for the Tuesdays clash.
Meanwhile, Gloucester, who have an impending Challenge Cup fixture against La Rochelle on Thursday, have therefore been forced to select a young starting side with Nick Wood, who skippers the side, being the most experienced player picked.
There is also a one-off return for an old favourite Tim Molenaar. The centre enjoyed a four-year spell with the Cherry and Whites between 2009 and 2013, scoring ten tries in 75 appearances.
The rest of the backline features a number of teenagers in Mat Protheroe, Harry Robinson, Olly Thorley and Lloyd Evans for whom the occasion will be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Second-row Joe Latta, who joined from Super Rugby side the Highlanders in the summer, also comes in to make his first start for the club.
Hopefully, the game will be played in the right spirit with the superstar Barbarians not crushing this young Gloucester side too much. It still should be a comfortable win for the Baa-Baas. Barbarians by 30.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Gloucester: Mat Protheroe
Barbarians: Nehe Milner Skudder
Gloucester: 15 Mat Protheroe; 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Olly Thorley, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Steph Reynolds; 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Ben Vellacott; 1 Nick Wood (capt), 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 3 Nicky Thomas; 4 Joe Latta, 5 Tom Hicks; 6 Elliott Stooke, 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Lewis Ludlow
Replacements: Henry Walker, Dan Murphy, Josh McNulty, Alex Craig, Will Safe, Callum Braley, Billy Burns, Jack Evans
Barbarians`: 15 Nehe Milner Skudder (Hurricanes & New Zealand), 14 Joe Tomane (Brumbies & Australia), 13 Francois Venter (Cheetahs), 12 Ryan Crotty (Crusaders & New Zealand, vice-captain), 11 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders & Fiji), 10 Pat Lambie (Sharks & South Africa), 9 Cobus Reinach (Sharks & South Africa), 1 Jamie Mackintosh (Chiefs & New Zealand), 2 James Hanson (Rebels & Australia), 3 Toby Smith (Rebels & Australia), 4 Victor Matfield (Northampton Saints & South Africa, captain), 5 Lood de Jager (Cheetahs & South Africa), 6 Stephen Hoiles (Waratahs & Australia), 7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), 8 Jarrad Butler (Brumbies)
Replacements: Stephen Moore (Brumbies & Australia), Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Charlie Faumuina (Blues & New Zealand), Bakkies Botha (South Africa), Scott Fardy (Brumbies & Australia), Tawera Kerr Barlow (Chiefs & New Zealand), Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders & New Zealand), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies & Australia), Waisake Naholo (Highlanders & New Zealand)