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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Thursday, April 18th 2019

Pat Lam to take charge of Barbarians once again

Pat Lam will take charge of the Barbarians once more when they return to face an England XV in the Quilter Cup match on Sunday, June 2nd.

The Bristol Bears coach led the side to a record-breaking 63-45 win at Twickenham in last year’s contest, when Chris Ashton scored a hat-trick for the invitation side.

He returns with the same coaching team that plotted the nine-try victory — and with three of the current Bristol squad who beat champions Saracens in the last round of Gallagher Premiership matches.

New Zealand forwards Steven Luatua and John Afoa will pull on the famous black and white shirt once more with Samoa captain Chris Vui set to make his first appearance for the 129 year-old club.

"Last year was amazing, it was a huge privilege to be asked to coach having played for the club in the past and to be asked to come back and do it all again is a great honour."

Head coach, Pat Lam

Already signed up are the Toulon trio of New Zealand centre Malakai Fekitoa, Wales scrum half Rhys Webb and Fijian wing Filipo Nakosi.

“Last year was amazing, it was a huge privilege to be asked to coach having played for the club in the past and to be asked to come back and do it all again is a great honour," said Lam.

“We prepared really well and on the day it all came together. If you get everyone on the same page, then it gives people the chance to really express their amazing talents. We got the balance right between bonding as a group and the getting the training content across.

“What was special was the emphasis we put the famous 1973 try the Barbarians scored against New Zealand. We enjoyed having our own 70s night but the main thing we wanted to get across was work rate — how quickly the players in that great team got back in support.

“We put a real special emphasis on how we performed off the ball. You have to do that to make your mates look good."

John Afoa returns to Baa-Baas
Luatua is back in black and white
Vui set for Barbarians debut

To do that again, Bristol’s forwards coach Jonathan Thomas, backs coach Conor McPhillips and performance analyst Stuart Powell all return, along with Connacht manager Tim Allnutt.

Lam said: “We’re using the same coaching group again and with so much to do in the build-up last year they made things easy. We’ve reviewed what we did closely and have improvements to make.

“You can see from the first few selections that the squad will be very similar in quality — and I can tell you I've had loads of players contacting me to be added to the selection list!! The world game follows the Barbarians because of the global reach the club has and a lot of people saw the game last year.

“The final selections will be made shortly before we come together. Last year we had a bonus when Toulon lost in their quarter final and we suddenly had Tuisova, Fekitoa, Semi Radradra, Fernandez-Lobbe, and Ashton all available, so we’ll see how things develop in the next few weeks.”

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