Matfield to lead Barbarians
December 2, 2009
Victor Matfield will captain the Barbarians at Twickenham © Getty Images
Victor Matfield will captain the Barbarians as they take on New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Springbok lock will make his Barbarians debut alongside Italian Carlo del Fava in the second-row and is one of seven South Africans in the starting line-up. Flanker Schalk Burger packs down in the back-row with Wallabies Rocky Elsom and George Smith, who shifts to No.8 from his usual openside slot.
In the front-row, Bismarck du Plessis is given the nod at hooker alongside Italian prop Salvatore Perugini and the squad's traditional uncapped player, Free State Cheetahs tight-head WP Nel.
Matt Giteau and Fourie du Preez form a classy halfback combination with Wales centre Jamie Roberts paired with Springbok Jaque Fourie in the centre. The back-three is a Tri-Nations combination as Springbok Bryan Habana is joined by Australian fullback Drew Mitchell and All Black wing Joe Rokocoko, playing against his countrymen for the first time after missing out on tour selection.
"To be invited to lead such a star-studded outfit is a huge honour for me," said Matfield. "It will also be my debut for the Barbarians and the whole experience since the squad met up last Sunday has been unique."
Barbarians coach Nick Mallett was in confident mood, predicting some flowing rugby from the invitational side.
"We have the benefit of a full week together ahead of the match and, knowing the talent that has been assembled among the 22 players, we expect to be very competitive and give the All Blacks and the Twickenham crowd a real taste of Barbarian rugby at its best," he said.
Barbarians: Drew Mitchell (Australia); Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand), Jaque Fourie (South Africa), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Bryan Habana (South Africa); Matt Giteau (Australia), Fourie du Preez (South Africa); Salvatore Perugini (Italy), Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa), W P Nel (Free State Cheetahs), Carlo del Fava (Italy), Victor Matfield (South Africa), Rocky Elsom (Australia), Schalk Burger (South Africa), George Smith (Australia)
Replacements: Stephen Moore (Australia), Tendai Mtawarira (South Africa), Quintin Geldenhuys (Italy), Andy Powell (Wales), Will Genia (Australia), Morne Steyn (South Africa), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)