Baa-baas call up Saracens trio for England clash

Date published: October 13 2020

A trio of Saracens are the latest names to be announced by the Barbarians for their forthcoming Quilter Cup against England at Twickenham on Sunday, October 25.

Jackson Wray and Manu Vunipola will be joined by Saracens legend Richard Wigglesworth, with the trio chalking up a collective appearance figure of over 500 between them.

Return to HQ

Wigglesworth will be returning to HQ after 250 appearances for his club and 33 for England.

The versatile back said: “This feels such a fitting way to bring this season to a close. It will be a real honour to run out in the Black and White against Eddie’s England side. 2019/20 has been a strange and challenging time for us as players, but capping it off by becoming a Barbarian is something I will look back on with great pride.”

Hugely influential at scrum-half through Saracens’ most successful period, Wigglesworth won nine trophies across the domestic and European game. He’s made his England debut against France in the 2008 Six Nations, scoring a 79th-minute try to help England to a 24-13 win in Paris. After playing his 250th and final match for Saracens, he has brought to a close a decade at the North London club, becoming the Premiership’s all-time appearance holder.

Saracens team-mates Wray and Vunipola will run out alongside Wigglesworth for the England match-up.

Wray, a stalwart back-rower, recently penned a new three-year deal to stay with Saracens as they look to their Championship campaign, the start date of which is yet to be confirmed.

Coming through the ranks of the Saracens’ Academy, Wray has put in 252 appearances so far, and will be looking to extend this figure over the next three seasons.

He said: “It’s going to be a great week and a great match. I’m always hungry for new experiences in rugby and becoming a Baa-baa is up there with the biggest of honours. I’m really excited to be part of the unique Barbarians brand of rugby and I know we’ll all enjoy going out there and giving it our all against England.”

Vunipola, meanwhile, brings into the Barbarians squad a surname that needs no introduction – and a hugely exciting young talent. He will beat cousins Mako and Billy to a first Barbarians shirt and is relishing the opportunity to go up against them at Twickenham.

Bright future

The young fly-half has represented England at age-group level, including playing in the 2019 and 2020 U20s Six Nations and World Rugby U20s Championships. With 30 appearances under his belt for Saracens, his future is looking bright.

“It will be very surreal running out at Twickenham in Barbarians’ Black and White, playing against Mako and Billy,” said the 20-year-old.

“I’ve had so many amazing rugby influences in my career so far – my dad [Elisi, who played 41 times for Tonga including in two Rugby World Cups], obviously my cousins, and some incredible team-mates at Sarries like Owen Farrell. It’s really incredible to think I will be part of a Barbarians squad that will be going up against England in the first international match at Twickenham for nearly eight months. I’m thrilled. I can’t wait.”

The trio join Vern Cotter’s squad alongside former England captain and flanker Chris Robshaw, with more players to be announced later this week.