Rugby Union

Could a European Barbarians XV work against the British and Irish Lions?

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What if the British and Irish Lions played against a European team, made up of all players plying their trade in the European leagues? Who would stand against the Lions? It’s a far-fetched idea but the thought of these two teams clashing is somewhat mouth-watering.

Loosehead – Marcos Ayerza

Getting a little bit of Argentinian chemistry in the front row and with good reason; the Pumas could argue the toughest pack in the world and Ayerza has led from the front. He is also a stalwart defender with 90% of tackles made out of 28.

Hooker – Agustin Creevy

The Argentinian captain has been great during the World Cup and would be an ideal hooker at scrum time for the Pumas. He is surprisingly mobile, making 15 gain line successes, 83 metres and has led from the front. Worcester will be happy knowing this man is on his way after the tournament.


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Tighthead – Martin Castrogiovanni

The man is somewhat of an enigma with his shaggy hair and loveable personality. He is so solid at the scrum and is a man on a mission for the Italians, he will take some replacing!

Second Row – Leone Nakarawa & Jamie Cudmore

Nakarawa was outstanding in the World Cup pool stages and has a perfect blend of pace, power and an offloading game that would threaten any opponent. Standing at over two metres tall, he is also a serious threat come the lineout.

Cudmore has played at a high level for a large portion of his career and he has a great ball-carrying game, carrying for 46 metres over 15 carries for Canada at the World Cup, coupled with a great tackling game with 39 tackles made at a 93% success rate.

Flankers – Steffon Armitage & George Smith

Armitage has made his name during the rise of Toulon, being an expert at the breakdown, perhaps the only player in Europe that could arguably match Pocock and Hooper in that area.

Smith is an Australian legend that has possessed the natural skills of a flanker for years and would add some veteran South Hemisphere grit to the team.

Number 8 – Sergio Parisse

The flagship of Italian rugby. At his best I would argue he is the best on the planet and I think the world would agree, should he have found himself playing in gold, green or black. But playing for the Azzurri of Italy, the man has still established a dazzling reputation and has the game to match it.

Number 9 – Nikola Matawalu

The Fijian showed what he could do for the team against England with a brilliant step that sent him into space. Having him at nine would add clean ball to the team but also mean the defence would have to be on point, otherwise the darting scrummy could find a gap with quick feet and make serious yards as a punishment.

Number 10 – Nikolas Sanchez

The Argentinian just pips Camille Lopez to the ten spot. He has 74 points in the World Cup alone so far, with an 84% tackle percentage out of 34 tackles, he has proven to be solid in defence whilst being able to light up teams with tactical kicking and distributing the ball well.

Centres – Matt Giteau and Wesley Fofana

Giteau has been a key part of Australia’s RWC campaign and he would bring an extra bit of creativity outside of a young fly half. His skill would be able to unleash Fofana who has pace and footwork.

Back Three - Bryan Habana, Drew Mitchell and Nick Abendanon

All three possess pace and ability and after a vigorous training camp and team selection process, these players would make the cut. It probably will never happen, but these players are the ones that would be worth selecting.

Who would come out on top between this XV and the British Lions? Give your opinion in the comment box below!

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