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INVITED PLAYERS

Geoff Bonner

In 1989 I gained a scholarship to Dohto University to play rugby. The first year was based in Sapporo to learn Japanese and then I was supposed to go to Monbetsu for 2 more years. I hadn't been in Sapporo long when Mark Ealey tracked me down and enticed me to watch a Barbarians game followed by more than a few beers, a situation that became more and more regular. Eventually, the club received approval from Dohto for me to play a few games while I was in Sapporo. I stayed on for another year playing for the club and enjoying the fruits of Sapporo along with other Kiwi identities such as Kim Browne, Al Winder, Phil Murray, Jeremy Angland, David D-Boy Rees and Mark Ealey. Needless to say, a great time was had playing rugby, skiing, socialising etc and thankfully the police weren't involved too often although this was the era in which the Barbarians were regularly banned from several bars. (I blame Inao for always falling asleep at the bar).

After 2 years my visa had run out so I moved to Christchurch where I completed a degree in business and Japanese and also worked in the local tourist industry. I did a bit more travel through Europe and UK before again heading to Sapporo in 1996 to replace Scott McLeod as the invited back for the club. The club had changed a lot and was more focussed on winning (and even had trainings!) but there was still a good social aspect and I had a great time although I got injured and couldn't partake in the finals, which was a major disappointment for me. The club has always looked after me very well and I have made some lifelong friendships and regard Sapporo as my second home.

I now live in Auckland and am married to Andrea with 2 girls (Silvia 5 and Eva 3). I own a company called Carisbrook International which manufactures and distributes rugby and sports products (including the gear that the Barbarians now wear thanks!). This allows me to get back to Japan on occasions and the highlight is always meeting up with the club members over a beer.
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Brett Begley

Brett comes from the Marist club in Hamilton and played for the Barbarians for 2 years from 2006 to 2007.
Brett for both seasons played centre for the A team and was a great organiser of defence and a good defender himself.
His main strengths though were his distribution skills and his ability to put his outsides into space.
He combined well with his wingers on the blindside and loose forwards often which created alot of breaks.
Always played his best rugby in the East Japan and All Japan games often being double marked in those games.
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Derek Begley

DB from Canada came to the club after finishing a career as a pro wrestler with an eye to play some social rugby for the club. When we were blessed with an appearance we always got same bang for our buck.
Often bigger men in the game in Japan find it hard to make telling tackles but DB would always strike them right.
Had a great half one day against Mandera in a final making big hit after big hit.
A big, bruising footy player. DB spent alot of time in Niseko during his time in Sapporo and had lots of interests outside of rugby.
He is now based in Niseko working as a property manager, has a tourism business and also walks the beat as a cop.
Niseko has a very low crime rate of late.
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Leith Brunning

Leith played for the Barbarians in the 2002 season where he was the cornerstone of our forward pack.
His scrummaging and defence huge in helping the team win the East Japan Championship that year.
Played just one season before returning to pursue a coaching career in the Tasman province.
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