New Zealand’s Thorn to captain Barbarians

New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup-winner Brad Thorn will captain the Barbarians in their non-cap international against England at Twickenham on Sunday.

The team announced Saturday by Barbarians coach Robbie Deans, himself a former All Blacks fullback, showed 11 changes to the side that edged out Ireland 22-21 at Limerick’s Thomond Park on Thursday.

Veteran lock Thorn, 40, a World Cup winner on home soil in 2011, will form a new second-row partnership with Samu Manoa in a starting line-up that totals 388 international caps from seven different nations.

Australia flanker George Smith, who will join Premiership side Wasps next season, is in the Barbarians’ back-row.

Harlequins and England wing Ugo Monye is now set to makes his final appearance in the professional game against his former international teammates.

The Barbarians, rugby union’s most prestigious invitational side, are celebrating their 125th anniversary this season.

They have stayed true to their attacking traditions by including the leading try-scorers in both France’s Top 14 and England’s Premiership in the shape of Toulon wing David Smith and Exeter No.8 Thomas Waldrom.

“It’s a privilege to lead the Barbarians against England at Twickenham,” said Thorn, who has been appearing for Premiership side Leicester this season.

“Playing for the club is an honour and the boys did the shirt proud with the commitment and skill they showed to beat a good Ireland team earlier in the week.”

Sunday’s match marks the start of England’s build-up to a World Cup which gets underway when they face Fiji at Twickenham on September 18

“We know England have some exciting talent in their side with plenty to play for in the build-up to the World Cup but we have high standards and want to give them a real test,” said Thorn.

Barbarians team (15-1)

Gio Aplon (Grenoble/RSA); David Smith (Toulon), Joe Rokocoko (Bayonne/NZL), Wynand Olivier (Montpellier/RSA), Ugo Monye (Harlequins/ENG); Tusi Pisi (Suntory Sungoliath/SAM), Tomas Cubelli (Belgrano/ARG); Thomas Waldrom (Exeter/ENG), George Smith (Lyon/AUS), George Whitelock (Panasonic Wild Knights/NZL); Brad Thorn (Leicester/NZL, capt), Samu Manoa (Northampton/ENG); Matias Diaz Pampas/ARG), David Ward (Harlequins), Saimone Taumoepeau (Castres/NZL)

Replacements: Deon Fourie (Lyon), Roberto Tejerizo (Tucuman/ARG), Adam Jones (Cardif/WAL), Nathan Hines (Sale/SCO), Pablo Matera (Pampas/ARG), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster/RSA), Stephen Brett (Lyon), Yoshi Fujita (Panasonic Wild Knights/JPN)

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