The World XV to take on Japan at Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground on Aug. 15 was announced Wednesday and it contains a number of Wallabies still hoping to make it to this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Former Australia coach Robbie Deans, now in charge of Top League champions Panasonic Wild Knights, will be in charge of the side that has no shortage of big match experience.
Bakkies Botha’s farewell to rugby continues as he brings his 202-cm, 124-kg frame to Japan. And the Springbok legend and Rugby World Cup winner is joined in the pack by compatriot Pierre Spies (who will play for Kintetsu Liners in the 2015-16 Top League season), former All Blacks Carl Hayman, Ali Williams and a number of Wallabies hoping to show current coach Michael Cheika they still have what it takes to make the trip to England in September for this year’s World Cup.
Ben Alexander, Benn Robinson, Saia Fainga’a, Luke Jones and Liam Gill are all named in the squad, and there is a quartet of high profile backs also looking to make a last ditch impression on Cheika, who has given the players his full backing to play in the game.
Coca-Cola Red Sparks wing Nick Cummins, James O’Connor, Christian Lealiifano and Taqele Naiyaravoro (who is just 1 kg lighter than Botha despite being a wing) are all named in the side along with former Wallaby Berrick Barnes.
Barnes currently plays for Deans at Panasonic and there are a number of other players in the squad with experience of Japanese rugby including a trio of Rugby World Cup winners in Andy Ellis (Kobe Kobelco Steelers), Adam Thomson (Canon Eagles) and Wynand Olivier (formerly with Ricoh Black Rams).
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