JIMMY Cowan has warned Dan Robson that he will receive a warm welcome if the Gloucester duo clash at Twickenham on Sunday.
The former All Black scrum-half makes his debut for the Barbarians as the famous invitational club take on an England XV.
It will also be a first for Robson, who is named among the replacements, and Cowan is relishing the prospect of their friendly rivalry if they get to face each other at HQ.
Speaking to the official Gloucester website Cowan admitted there was no chance of him going easy on the young contender but he has backed his Cherry and White teammate to force his way into World Cup contention.
He said: “There’s not a chance I will go easy on him, that’s a given isn’t it. I have to keep the young boy honest and I’ll give him a welcome if I catch him near a ruck!
“To be fair, it’s been a matter of time until he got the recognition with England, he’s an exceptional player and he’s been in exceptional form.
“For him, he’s now got his foot in the door with England and I can honestly see him pushing himself up the scrum half ranks with England and getting himself in the mix ready for Rugby World Cup 2015, and I hope he does do it.”
The Baa-Baas only linked up on Wednesday but boast a wealth of international experience, with more than 700 caps shared between their star-studded squad.
But Cowan is loving every minute of his first involvement with the club and has been working with a familiar face in Mike Tindall, who is backs coach.
He said: “It’s all about reforming these partnerships with some of these boys and for many, I haven’t seen them in two to three years and it’s great to be here.
“I can’t wait for Sunday, it’s another chance to play at Twickenham for me in an international environment and it will be really great.
“This is a hugely talented bunch of guys we have with some much experience and class. There are 9 different nations represented, so a great prospect ahead on Sunday.
“It’s a new experience for me and I cannot wait both for Sunday and the game the following week.
“Mike’s doing a good job in helping out as the backs’ coach, don’t think there’s any danger of him playing though, and it’s good to see him too!”
Cowan has not had his contract with Gloucester renewed and is close to securing a switch to France. But he will be pulling on his Cherry and White socks for one final time as he faces those he has played alongside for two years.
He added: “It’s a honour to wear both to be honest, a truly unique experience overall and to do it whilst wearing Cherry and White too is something I’m really proud of, and it’s great to do so before I leave these shores.
“Coming up against Charlie (Sharples) and Dan (Robson) will be really cool as well and it’s great to see us all representing the club and I’m looking forward to the challenge of taking them both on!”