Fantastic five from the Far North Coast
FIVE players who started as juniors on the Far North Coast will line up for the Classic Wallabies when they take on the international Barbarians at Crozier Field, Lismore, tonight.
Brothers Alex and Matt Gibbon are currently playing for NSW Country in the National Rugby Championship and will be in the starting side.
Matt Gibbon will be joined in the front-row by Yamba product Conor Young, with former teammate Jake Douglas playing second-row.
Douglas was meant to pack down beside his older brother Kane Douglas but he has been recalled to Michael Cheika's Wallabies after an injury to Rob Simmons at the weekend.
Wollongbar-Alstonville hooker Bill Johnston currently plays first grade in the FNC competition and will come off the bench for the Classic Wallabies.
He has played for them in the past and went on an overseas tour of Bermuda with the team in 2013.
Johnston and Alex Gibbon have only played together a handful of times but did play in the same Wollongbar-Alstonville side in the final round of the FNC competition in August.
"The Gibbon boys had a bit of a tough upbringing but they work hard and it's good for them to get this sort of opportunity,” Johnston said.
"Matt is going to be a really good front-rower and I can see him playing Super Rugby in the years to come.
"I was hoping to get another (Classic Wallabies) game in my own backyard and to be part of the team again is really exciting.
"I don't think the community understand how big a game this is and for the Barbarians to be coming here.
"It's awesome to have so many rugby stars from all around the world coming to Lismore.”
Former Wallabies Adam Freier, Drew Mitchell, Lote Tuqiri, Morgan Turinui and Radike Samo are all playing.
Mitchell will captain the side from fullback while former Byron Bay player AJ Gilbert has been named at flanker.
World Cup-winning Wallaby Owen Finegan is coaching the side and will likely play some minutes off the bench, while Stephen Hoiles is here as an assistant coach.
Money raised from the event will go towards ongoing flood relief in Lismore.
Tickets are still on sale at www.visitlismore.com.au, with kick-off at 5.30pm.