The 'fake war' begins between Jones and Cheika

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

"Mate, the war has begun."

With those words, Barbarians coach Alan Jones cheekily set the tone for the Wallabies vs Barbarians clash on October 28.

Speaking about Cheika's late call to pull out a quartet of players in the Barbarians squad, including former Force centre Billy Meakes, to take on the Classic Wallabies, Jones couldn't resist having a tongue-in-cheek jab at his old friend.

The former Wallabies coach wasn't afraid of throwing barbs Cheika's way, but was quick to peel back any semblance of true anger, describing this battle as a 'fake war' between the pair.

Cheika said he wasn't sure he would have much room left for mind games after next week's Bledisloe Test, but he expected Jones to continue to throw barbs in the lead-up to the main game.

Seven capped Wallabies are in the mix to line up against the national side when the Barbarian roll into town, as well as some fringe squad players and Jones challenged those players to stand up 

Barbarians coach Alan Jones named a 24-man squad on Friday morning, with a handful of players to be added to the group as time goes on.

Western Force players have dominated selection in Alan Jones' Barbarians squad, with seven of his 24 from the axed franchise.

Matt Hodgson, Pek Cowan, Anaru Rangi, Richie Arnold, Matt Philip, Kane Koteka and Michael Ruru have all been named for the group, to take on the Classic Wallabies in Lismore on October 24 and the Wallabies on October 28 in Sydney.

Jones has only selected two specialist props in his initial squad, with Taniela Tupou having the chance to potentially force his way onto the Wallabies' Spring Tour. 

Taniela Tupou will be one of four Wallabies development players. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyTupou was on Australia's Spring Tour last year as a development player but doesn't become eligible for Tests until Novermber 22 this year.

Cheika won't be picking his Spring Tour squad until the day after the Barbarians clash, giving players on both sides an opportunity to prove their worth, and Jones said that was in his mind with selections.

"The emphasis here has been on young people," he said.

"I'm challenging these people to recognise that this is a big opportunity for them and it's a chance now to put your talent on the line and be seen."

Capped Wallabies Luke Jones and Sam Carter will both have a chance to show their stuff for the Barbarians, Jones coming over from France for the privilege.

Carter's Barbarians performances last year helped him back into the Wallabies setup on the Spring Tour.

Former Reds squad member Sam Greene is also an intriguing inclusion in the Baabaas squad, returning from the Japanese Top League to play.

There'll be three Kiwis in the squad with Augustine Pulu and George Moala pulled from the Auckland Blues and Tim Nanai-Williams joining from the Chiefs.

Super Rugby-winning backrower Jacques Potgieter will be a familiar face for the Wallabies and Classic Wallabies, having played for the Waratahs in their 2014 championship season.

Warringah's Sam Ward was voted into the squad by fans earlier this year, and he'll be joined by Australia U20s halfback Theo Strang as the two club players in the squad.

Jones said he hoped the game would be able to reignite some passion in rugby, after a disappointing year domestically.

"I hope it can reinvigorate interest in the game," he said.

"I'm very disturbed, for rugby, we all love the game, but I'm disturbed by the extent to which people have written off the game.

"We've had problems administratively and it's not fair that they get passed on and shovelled on to the players."

The Barbarians take on the Classic Wallabies in Lismore on October 24 and the Wallabies on October 28 in Sydney. Buy tickets here.

SQUAD

Barbarians squad to face the Classic Wallabies and Wallabies

Props

Pek Cowan - Western Force

Taniela Tupou - Queensland Reds

Hookers

Andrew Ready - Queensland Reds

Anaru Rangi - Western Force 

Locks

Richie Arnold - Western Force

Sam Carter - Brumbies

Luke Jones - Bordeaux

Matt Philip - Western Force 

Backrowers

Jacques Potgieter  - Bulls

Isi Naisarani - ACT Brumbies

Matt Hodgson - Western Force

Kane Koteka - Western Force

Sam Ward - Warringah

Halfbacks

Michael Ruru - Western Force

Augustine Pulu - Auckland Blues

Theo Strang - Sydney Uni 

Flyhalves

Quade Cooper - Queensland Reds

Sam Greene - Toyota Industries Shuttles 

Centres

George Moala - Blues

Outside Backs

Eto Nabuli - Queensland Reds

Taqele Naiyaravoro - NSW Waratahs

Tim Nanai-Williams - Chiefs

Tom Banks - ACT Brumbies

The Barbarians take on the Wallabies at Allianz Stadiun, Saturday October 28 at 3pm. Tickets available at Ticketek.com.au