Harlequins have become the third Premiership club, alongside Bath and Northampton Saints, to announce a fixture against the Barbarians, the most famous invitational side in rugby history.
The BaaBaa’s, known for their iconic attacking brand of rugby, will play Harlequins for the first time ever under ‘Thursday night lights’ at the Stoop on November 17th.
The announcement comes following the cancellation of Harlequins’ league fixture against Wasps on November 13th after the Coventry-based club were suspended from the Premiership following their entry into administration.
Harlequins Chief Executive Laurie Dalrymple said: “We have been working incredibly hard to develop a solution that not only can help us partially offset the financial loss of these fixtures, but also provide our supporters with a really engaging event.”
It is estimated that Harlequins, one of the best-supported teams in the Premiership, create around £400,000 – £500,000 in revenue per home league game.
Given the current financial state of English rugby, the arrangement of this fixture is a huge boost to Quins given they will be playing two fewer home fixtures than anticipated.
Head coach Tabai Matson said: “It’s a huge privilege for the club to be able to host such a prestigious side, but it’s also a fantastic challenge for us as a team.”
Matson went on further to say that his side will field a ‘full-strength’ team for the encounter given the club has no Premiership obligations the following weekend.
However, with England facing New Zealand just two days later, Quins will be without Marcus Smith and Cadan Murley, who were both named in England’s Autumn Nations Series squad on Monday, Murley being one of five uncapped players in Eddie Jones’ squad.
Headed by Scott Robertson, Crusaders coach, and Ronan O’Gara, La Rochelle coach, the Barbarians are set to showcase their signature style of flair to put on an electrifying encounter against one of England’s most attack-minded sides.
Internationals Zach Mercer (Montpellier & England), Josua Tuisova (Lyon & Fiji) Camille Chat (Racing 92 & France) and George Bridge (Montpellier & New Zealand) have already been announced in the squad with more superstars expected to be named in the coming days.
Fans will have Barbarians’ 52-21 demolition of England in June fresh in the memory with the invitational side expected to display a similar level of attacking prowess on this special occasion.
Tickets for the match are on sale via Harlequins’ website with prices sitting from £32 for adults and £15 for under 18s.
For more of our rugby union content click here.
Feature image credit: Chris Brown via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 2.0