Barbarians face Samoa in Olympic Stadium’s first ever rugby match
- Credit: Andrew Baker
History will be made this afternoon when the Barbarians face Samoa in the first ever rugby match at the Olympic Stadium.
Less than three weeks before the start of the World Cup, the invitational side will provide the ground with its first real test ahead of four pool games and the tournament’s bronze-medal final.
Australia fly-half Christian Leali’ifano is part of a 10-man reserve list for the Wallabies heading into the competition, but insists a Baa-Baas call-up is still a huge honour.
“It’s really exciting to come to the Olympic stadium,” said the Brumbies kicker.
“I only saw bits of the 2012 Olympics because it was on so early in the morning for us – seeing Usain Bolt was probably the highlight for me.
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“It’s going to be a really historic game for the Barbarians – the first match in this stadium – so it’ll be a really big honour and I’m really excited.
“When you’re on the extended list [for Australia] you can only be hopeful and just wait and see if an opportunity does come along, which is why it’s important to just keep playing quality rugby in games like these.”
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Captained by South African powerhouse Bakkies Botha in their 125th year, the Barbarians will face Premiership sides Worcester and Gloucester during the Autumn before ending their English residency with a Twickenham clash against Argentina in November.
And Melbourne Rebels utility back Mike Harris admits the opportunity to play in the same arena once graced by the likes of Usain Bolt will make for a memorable occasion.
“It’s a pretty impressive structure,” he said.
“I guess when Usuan was doing his thing out on the track the place must have been absolutely humming – hopefully we can recreate that sort of atmosphere.
“Some of the best athletes in the world have been competing and performing in this venue so it’s pretty special to come here with the Barbarians.”
The match kicks off at 3pm.