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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Thursday, April 12th 2018

Pat Lam takes charge of Barbarians against England

Pat Lam will rekindle his rugby love affair with the Barbarians when he takes charge of the invitation side against England on May 27th.

Lam’s Bristol side celebrated a return to the top flight with two matches to spare after beating Nottingham last weekend and then watching Ealing lose at Doncaster.

The former Samoa No.8’s final assignment of the season will be to take charge of the Barbarians for the Quilter Cup match at Twickenham, when the Baa-baas will be chasing a first win over England since 2014.

Lam ended his own playing career as captain for the Barbarians in stunning style, scoring the final try of the match when they beat Wales 40-25 in 2002 – after trailing 25-0 at half time.

"It’s a great memory so to be asked to be involved again and to coach the Barbarians is a real privilege – I’m really looking forward to it,” said Lam.

"I was blessed to play six times for the Barbarians against England, Wales, Scotland, Australia, and It was such an enjoyable experience.

"I played the game as an amateur and then as a professional and in the Barbarians you get a touch of both. It’s got that old school charm where you spend time building friendships, enjoying what you do on the field and off it, and the quality of players and people you were involved with was great."

"I played the game as an amateur and then as a professional and in the Barbarians you get a touch of both. It’s got that old school charm where you spend time building friendships, enjoying what you do on the field and off it."

Head coach, Pat Lam

Lam was a European Cup winner with Northampton Saints, a Premiership champion with Newcastle Falcons and coached Auckland, the Blues and Samoa before his successful spell at Connacht and move to Bristol last summer.

As a coach, he is under no illusions about the difficulty of taking on an England side building up for a three-Test series in South Africa and eager to erase the memories of a disappointing NatWest 6 Nations campaign.

"England will be a huge challenge,” Lam said. "There’s no doubt they’ve had a bit of a blip this season but there’s no doubt about the quality of the players in their squad and they’ll be looking for a really tough hit-out.

"We’ll have to look at who’s going to be available but the Barbarians ethos is to bring players together, make sure they get on the same page and to give them the chance to express their talent. We’ll be looking largely to players based in France and some in the Pro-14 and the Premiership. There’s certainly plenty of quality out there.”

If he needs any more inspiration, the Barbarians set the bar high when they scored four tries against New Zealand in their last Twickenham outing before going down 31-22 against the double World Champions – with a final try scored from a flamboyant cross-kick trick play.

“I thought that was a tremendous game,” said Lam. "There were a lot of Southern Hemisphere guys really up for the game and they really took it to the ABs. It’s not a real Barbarians team either if you don’t have something special up your sleeve!”

Tickets to England v Barbarians in the Quilter Cup start at £25. Go to www.ticketmaster.co.uk for details.