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Manoa joins Baa-Baas squad

Samu Manoa has joined the Barbarians squad to face England at Twickenham on Sunday.

Northampton's powerful back-five forward will switch to European titans Toulon this summer, but will turn out for the world-famous invitational outfit first.

The 30-year-old US Eagles star adds another physical and experienced presence to an already talent-rich Barbarians line-up to face Stuart Lancaster's England XV.

The Barbarians pulled off an impressive 22-21 win over Ireland at Thomond Park on Thursday night, with coach Robbie Deans hailing the impact of veteran Australia flanker George Smith.

Lyon's Wasps-bound openside Smith is now eligible for a Wallabies recall after Australia changed their overseas selection policy - and former Australia boss Deans backed the 111-cap back-rower for World Cup action.

"That won't have done him any harm," said Deans of Smith's Barbarians cameo against Ireland.

"That won't be wasted on (Australia coach) Michael Cheika, he will have seen that.

"His impact was significant, and as they say, class is timeless."

The Barbarians mixed showmanship and substance in equal measure in Limerick, living up to the club's proud tradition to entertain, but also still chase victory.

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert claimed a brace with Leinster full-back Zane Kirchner also crossed, on a night where All Blacks star Joe Rokocoko wowed the crowd with as much style as end-product.

Craig Gilroy, Chris Henry and Paddy Jackson grabbed tries for Ireland, who never quite found their gear and could have few complaints in slender defeat.

Evergreen Australia back-rower Smith came off the Barbarians bench for the final quarter, time and again stemming Ireland's breakdown flow.

Australia have changed their Test selection policy and can now pick overseas-based players provided they hold 60 or more caps.

Smith backed Toulon duo Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell for World Cup selection ahead of Thursday's Barbarians clash, and now Deans hopes the flanker himself can get in on that act.

Baa-Baas boss Deans worked with Smith during his Wallabies tenure, and backed the turnover-hunting loose-forward to force a World Cup recall.

"Personality is not an issue with George," said Deans.

"He's a bloke who's a team man, very low maintenance, and a lot of his contributions you don't see, they are very subtle.

"He's helping the young blokes, and he's class."

England have named an experimental side given Saturday's Premiership final, with young Exeter stars Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie given their chance to impress.

Barbarians boss Deans knows his scratch side will have to regroup quickly for a performance against England to match the tenacity shown in Ireland.

"It's not hard but it's also hard," said Deans of the challenge to bring a disparate group of world stars into a team unit in mere days.

"You can come together in a frivolous way and have fun, but then forget about the meaning and what you're doing.

"Because the Barbarians won't survive over time if it's just frivolous.

"And the game of rugby is about more than just pure entertainment, it's about courage, the way you work for your team-mates, it's the ultimate team sport.

"So you've got to be prepared to do the stuff that's not as visible.

"I think we had both elements on Thursday and we'll of course be aiming for the same again on Sunday at Twickenham."


From Belfast Telegraph