Barbarians coach Eddie Jones has devised a new playing position for Frenchman Mathieu Bastareaud ahead of the encounter with Fiji at Twickenham.
In a light-hearted interview with the former France international, Jones jokingly labelled Bastareaud as a ‘back and forward’ following the 31-year-old’s recent transition from the backline to the back row.
Bastareaud, who joined Lyon as a medical joker during the World Cup, is set to move to the United States to play for Rugby United New York in the Major League Rugby competition. The Frenchman announced his international retirement after being overlooked for France’s World Cup campaign and ended his Test career having earned 54 caps.
After making a successful move from midfield to the back row, Bastareaud has since thrived on loan at Lyon, and is likely to feature at eighthman against the Fijians on Saturday. Having always had a bulky physique – tipping the scales at over 120kg – the move looks set to prolong the Frenchman’s playing career and has received the full backing of Jones.
The Barbarians have included no less than nine current and former Springboks in their squad to face Fiji, Brazil and Wales in the coming weeks. Among the Bok contingent are World Cup-winning trio Tendai Mtawarira, Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am. Bok scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies was originally named in the squad but has since been replaced by veteran Jano Vermaak.
Is he a back?
Is he a forward?
Is he a giant rugby hybrid – Like a Prius with a gym membership?
— Barbarian FC (@Barbarian_FC) November 12, 2019
Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images