Barbarians, World XV make two changes each, Koroibete pulls out

Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete has pulled out of Steve Hansen’s World XV squad for this Sunday’s Killik Cup clash with Eddie Jones’ Barbarians at Twickenham.

The speedster, who last year won his second John Eales medal as Australia’s best rugby player, finished his second club season in Japan last Saturday with defeat in the final with Robbie Deans’ Saitama Wild Knights.

No exact reason was given as to why Koroibete had to withdraw following his left-wing start in the 15-17 loss to Malcolm Marx’ Kubota Spears in Tokyo, but his place in Hansen’s squad has gone to Kaminieli Rasaku of Bayonne and Fiji 7s. The other addition to the World XV is the retiring Ulster and Ireland back-rower Jordi Murphy.

Another Japanese-based player, Taichi Takahashi, has been added to Jones’ Barbarians, as has the out-of-favour Scotland midfielder Sam Johnson, who is moving on from Glasgow this summer. A statement read: “Sam Johnson and Taichi Takahashi have been added to the Barbarian FC squad for this weekend’s Killik Cup clash at Twickenham Stadium, and Jordi Murphy also joins the World XV.

“Glasgow Warriors centre Johnson has 27 caps for Scotland to his name, and Toyota Verblitz wing Takahashi made his Japan debut against France last year. Meanwhile, Ulster back row Murphy has earned 31 caps for Ireland and is set to retire from professional rugby this summer.

“Kaminieli Rasaku (Bayonne and Fiji 7s) also replaces Marika Koroibete in the World XV line-up, with the Australian wing forced to withdraw from the fixture. The Killik Cup will be on the line this Sunday when two of the most decorated coaches in world rugby, Eddie Jones (Barbarians) and Steve Hansen (World XV), go head-to-head for an unmissable showdown in London.

“The two squads are jam-packed with world-class talent, with internationals from England, Wales, South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia, Tonga, Japan, Scotland, Fiji and Italy all involved for the blockbuster clash at English Rugby HQ.

“The sides contain a total of 1,345 international caps between them – with 678 for the Barbarians and 667 for the World XV – as well as Rugby World Cup winners, British & Irish Lions tourists, and several returning Barbarians.”