Row goes on as Regan beds in with Baa-Baas

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The Independent Online

Just when you thought all had gone quiet on the western rugby front, the Barbarians appear at the gates of Twickenham and all hell breaks loose. Mark Regan, the Bristol and England hooker, is embedded with the Baa-Baas at their London hotel and will captain the invitation side against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

His club say they will fine him for missing Bristol's EDF Energy Cup match with Leeds on Sunday but Regan appears ready to don the famous striped jersey – of the Baa-Baas that is. The same cannot be said for Andrew Sheridan, who trained with Sale yesterday ahead of Friday's cup game with Leicester. "He is contracted to play for us," said a Sale spokesman.

According to the Barbarians, Regan and Sheridan signed on in good faith for a sum less than five figures but more than four. Professional era it may be but they are still coy about cash.

"Sale were happy to release Sheridan as long as he was not the only Guinness Premiership player involved," a Baa-baas spokesman said. "At the 11th hour they seem to have changed their minds."

The middleman in all this is Mike Burton, the former England prop turned agent. Not only is he on the Barbarians' committee but he helped draft Sheridan's new contract, which, apparently, contains a clause releasing him for Saturday's match.

Anyone without a ticket should not travel to Twickenham. Trains are operating at 50 per cent, nearby stations close at 7pm and crowd capacity has been cut to 60,000. So far 58,000 tickets have been sold.

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