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Udo-Udoma set to feature for Nigeria in World Cup qualifiers, while rest of Barking squad named.

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New Barking signing Jay Udo-Udoma is set to pick up his first full international cap for Nigeria and will be looking to help fire his country closer to the World Cup qualifiers.

The 27-year-old has represented Nigeria in the Sevens format of the game and is set to win his first full cap when they face three matches next week against Botswana, Ivory Coast and Mauritius in the African Championships.

The games act as a stage of the 2015 World Cup qualifiers and by winning their group, Nigeria will move a step close to the qualifying for the World Cup, which will take place in three years’ time in England.

Udo-Udoma was originally on standby for the squad, but after hearing the news of his selection, he is delighted to be representing his country.

“It is a very proud moment for me and all my family,” he said.

“I have played Sevens for Nigeria before, but nothing beats a full international cap.

“I was originally in the 36-man squad as a standby, but now I will have a chance to play for my country and that’s great.”

Udo-Udoma has been training with Barking for just over a month now, but admits as soon as he heard the news his pre-season training has taken a step up.

“Obviously I thought I wouldn’t be playing until the start of the National League season over here, but when I heard the news it has seen me increase my schedule that little bit more,” he added.

“It has only been 10 to 15 days since I heard the news, but I am hoping it will go well.”

He’ll be joined in the team by 15 others that are based in the United Kingdom who were travelling to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana yesterday (Tuesday).

And with the standard of those players, many of which he knows from his time in the National Leagues, he hopes they can enjoy a successful tournament.

“There are a mixture of players from within Nigeria and those from the UK,” said Udo-Udoma.

“I know very little about the standard of rugby in the country, but the ones I have played with and against in this country are of a good calibre and if we can progress that will be great.”

The 27-year-old is one of a number of new additions to the Barking squad for the upcoming season.

However, Charlie Armstrong, Ian Davey, Sean Jones and Tom Yellowlees have re-signed along with club captain Craig Ratford.

And those retained for the new campaign also include Greg Kersey, Darren Bowles, Scott Shaw, Mitchell Sinfield, Hugo Watney and Connor O’Toole.

A number of former Barking youngsters have also rejoined the Goresbrook outfit including Samuel John, Ricky McFarlane and Rob Gash.

Scott Sarson and Michael Anderson have followed director of rugby Dean Cutting over from East London, while University graduates Calum Howard and Greg Fox have also signed.

Other players to have penned deals include Stuart Whatling, Adam Kain, David Kearsey, Matt Evans, Andrew Mead, Pat Reed and Alex Foster.

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