Casuarina rugby's Barbarian coup
CASUARINA Beach Rugby Club has pulled off a major coup by being selected to host a star-studded International Barbarians squad ahead of their clash with the Classic Wallabies in Lismore on Tuesday.
Less than a year after launching their inaugural senior side, the fledging club will host the Allen Jones' coached Barbarians on Monday afternoon, for their final training session before locking horns with a Wallabies side packed with former international stars.
Fringe Wallabies and players of the likes of 70 cap test veteran Quade Cooper, former Western Force captain Matt Hodgson and Murwillumbah powerhouse Richard Arnold are just some of the stars who'll converge on Casuarina on Monday for a two-hour training session.
Casuarina senior captain Jack Pick said former Queensland Reds' lock and Casuarina coaching member Adam Wallace-Harrison was instrumental in delivering the Allen Jones-coached Barbarians, who'll run an unopposed session, making full use of their namesake's facilities.
"He (Wallace-Harrison) only finished his professional career a few years ago and sits on the board for the Rugby Union Players Association. He has a lot of contact with people in the game and was approached by Jones' assistant coach about a training run down this way, and our club was a suitable venue.”
Pick said the Barbarians' training from 3-5pm would include a captain's run, and would be fully open to the public, with a fan meet-and-greet and autograph session to follow.
The squad will then move onto the Casuarina Rec Club, for a pool and gym session.
After a year of development in their opening season which netted four wins from 16 games, Pick was confident that the exposure gained from hosting the Barbarians would allow the club to continue to grow.
Attracting talent is a key focus for the club ahead of next season and Pick hoped the club could get as many fans and potential players along on Monday, in what will be a rare chance to see some of Australia's best up close.
"Having the Barbarians here is a huge honour after what was a huge growing year for the club,” Pick said.
"We knew there was a lot of support for the club in our local community, and we've managed to tap into that for great support at our home games.
"We're looking to grow bigger and better with two senior grades, and hosting the Barbarians and the profile of people involved is going to be great exposure for the club.
"We hope people will come along and experience our club and what we've got to offer.
"It's a huge win for us.”
The Barbarians line-up also includes Anaru Rangi, Andrew Ready, Augustine Pulu, Chance Peni, Eto Nabuli, George Moala, Isi Naisarani, Jacques Potgieter, Kane Koteka, Luke Jones, Matt Philip, Michael Ruru, Pek Cowan, Sam Carter, Sam Greene, Sam Ward, Taniela Tupou, Taqele Naiyaravaro, Theo Strang, Tim Nanai-Williams and Tom Banks.