England stars in the British and Irish Lions’ team would not be released to feature for the Barbarians when they face the All Blacks at Twickenham, reports say. England is set to clash with New Zealand on November 4 but latest information has it that instrumental players like Owen Farrell, Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje and the rest would sit out the game, making the purported ‘fourth test’ a futile dream.
The Barbarians’ best bet is to pull together players that are somewhat similar to the Lions’ side that faced the All Blacks recently. The missing key players have already killed the morale and hype of the fixture.
“England’s players will be focusing on preparing for England’s matches ahead of the Old Mutual Wealth Series,” a spokesperson confirmed.
Ten players from the England camp were in the 23-man squad that finished 15-15 against New Zealand. The Eden Park affair meant the series was tied at 1-1. The Lions tour lasted six weeks, drawing global attention to the games and ending controversially.
Jonathan Davies was subsequently voted the Player of the Series due to his contributions in all the games. The Welsh side are the usual recipients of this award but this time it was different. Davies has featured in every Test clash in the last two Lions tour. In attack and defence, he was prolific.
For the Lions, their calendar has been a bit congested. Some concerned individuals have advised a review though with a view to satisfy all parties: players, sponsors, partners etc. The protection around the players can also be suffocating.