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Barbarians challenged to show a bit of fight

By Nick Purewal

Dean Ryan has called on the Barbarians to restore the reputation and relevance of the world-famous invitational side in Sunday's Twickenham clash against the England XV.

Head coach Ryan admits the Barbarians have a responsibility to shake off criticism the much-loved traditional outfit suffered last summer.

England's World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward claimed it was a 'waste of time' the British and Irish Lions facing the Barbarians in Hong Kong en route to Australia last summer.

England routed a lacklustre Barbarians line-up 40-12 at Twickenham last summer, and Worcester rugby director Ryan admitted his side can ill afford any repeat.

"I think everyone has a responsibility to make this fixture competitive because the history of the Barbarians is there, but the here and now needs to be looked after as much as everything else," said Ryan.

"And that requires the group respecting what's gone on in the past, but also being aware of their responsibility to act here and now.

"And that's something we've impressed upon the group.

"We're aware of times when that hasn't gone well, and this group have articulated that they are pretty keen to separate themselves from that, and put in a competitive fixture.

"Because it's crucial to the success of something, we all marvel at this group, the fact that we can bring this group together under the same banner should not be lost.

"But then it shouldn't be lost on the responsibility of those involved to ensure they maintain it, and that's something we've expressed very clearly."

Ulster ace Roger Wilson has been named among the replacements while Ireland and British Lions lock Donncha O'Callaghan will make his Barbarians debut.

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