Springbok and Grenoble star, Gio Aplon, has been picked by Robbie Deans to play for the Barbarians.
The pocket rocket has described the call up as an absolute dream come true.
Aplon has been plying his trade at French club, Grenoble for the last season and has made a massive impact at the club both with fans and team mates alike. The affable Wing/Fullback has charmed the French and has become a crowd favourite as he was back in his home, Cape Town.
“Such a massive honour to be invited,” Aplon said, adding: “Not only a huge privilege but also a dream come true.”
Fellow Springbok, Siya Kolisi commented: ” That’s amazing, I am really so happy for him”.
Head coach Robbie Deans has also added Wallaby legend, George Smith ,Tonga prop Soane Tonga’uiha (Oyonnax), Uruguay lock Rodrigo Capo Ortega (Castres) and Japan No.8 Ryu Koliniasi Holani (Wild Knights) to his squad.
They join up with the likes of Joe Rokocoko, Adam Jones, Alex Cuthbert and Berrick Barnes for the matches against Ireland at Thomond Park on May 28 and an England XV at Twickenham on May 31.
Only Richie McCaw has won more caps as a flank than Smith, who made 111 appearances for the Wallabies from 2000 to 2013 and led the side from 2007-09.
A few Fast Facts about the Barbarians:
Who pays them to play?
They get paid from gate receipts from each match.
Who is the most famous BaasBaas?
Many of the best rugby players in the world have represented the Barbarians at one time and selecting the most famous would be a matter of opinion. In terms of appearances Tony O’Reilly of Old Belvedere & Ireland made 30 appearances for the club 1955-62 and scored 38 tries, the most by any Barbarian. Other notable players who have played more than 20 matches include Budge Rogers, Ron Jacobs, John Spencer and Phil Bennett.
Who runs the Barbarians?
The club has a committee of 10, five of whom comprise the management board: Micky Steele-Bodger(President), John Spencer (Chairman), Dai David (Treasurer), Gordon H Brown (Secretary), and Mike Burton; plus five committee members, John Jeffrey, Philip Orr, Derek Quinnell, David Barnes and Geoffrey Windsor-Lewis, who is also a vice-president.
Who can play for the Barbarians?
The only criteria a player must fulfil to receive an invitation from The Barbarians are: that the player’s rugby is of a good standard and that they behave themselves on and off the field. There is no discrimination on the basis of a player’s race, colour or creed and since 1890, players from over 25 different countries have worn the famous black and white hoop jersey. Once invited a player becomes a life member of the club.