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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Update: Americans & the Barbarians

Earlier today the Barbarians announced the names of five players that will be with the team for their summer series against England and the British and Irish Lions. The Italian duo of Sergio Parisse and Martin Castrogiovanni were chosen along with Imanol Harinordoquy, Kahn Fotoli'i, and Jaque Fourie. The fact that no home nations players have been named should not come as a big surprise. As we noted earlier this year, the number of international matches this year could open to the doors for the selection of players from outside traditional Barbarians countries.

However, we must admit we made a mistake in claiming that so far no American has played for the Barbarians against an international side. As it turns out, one already has. After consulting with the Barbarians we were notified that Dan Lyle played for the Barbarians against Ireland and Scotland in 2000. They also provided us with an updated list of all the Americans that have represented the Barbarians. Check it out after the jump.

Home Club*
Paul Emerick
N-G Dragons
‘08 Combined Services
Mike Hercus
‘06 Leicester
Kevin Higgins
’91 Swansea
Richard Liddington
’04 Combined Services
Chris Lippert
’94 Bath, French Barbarians; ’95 Cardiff
Dan Lyle
’97 Combined Services; ’00 Ireland, Scotland
Mike MacDonald
’06 Leicester
Mike Petri
’09 Scarlets
Kevin Swords
Beacon Hill
’92 Cardiff, Swansea
Tim Usasz
11 South of Scotland

*At the time of the Barbarians debut.

The Barbarians also pointed to their participation in the USA Bicentennial Tournament in Boston back in 1976. The team played two matches, the first against a New England select side and the second against a Bay Area select side. The Barbarians won both matches 40-12 and 28-7 respectively.

Matches in USA  
29 May 1976 v New England  W 40-12
31 May 1976 v Bay Area         W 28-7
Both played at Daley Field, Boston, as part of USA Bicentennial Tournament

As for the potential of American representing the Barbarians this year against England and the Lions, it seems that there is a real possibility. Todd Clever has been a name often mentioned as a possible selection. The choices of Parisse and Harinordoquy may tamper that a bit but it wouldn't be surprising to see Clever taken and played at another position. Taku Ngwenya is another name frequently mentioned. Apparently he has been invited to play in the past but the timing hasn't worked out (maybe Biarritz failed to renew his visa!). However, this year could be a real possibility. As the Harinordoquy selection suggests, Biarritz turning around their season and finishing in the playoffs seems distant. That could give Ngwenya plenty of rest opportunity to play for the Barbarians and then for the Eagles.

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