Barbarian team packed with Boks

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Springbok captain Jean de Villiers was one of nine Springboks included Tuesday in a 23-man Barbarians squad to play Fiji at Twickenham on November 30.

The squad contains eight members of the Springboks squad who have already beaten Wales and Scotland on their current tour of Europe, as well as legendary Springbok flanker Schalk Burger.

Fullback Willie le Roux, so impressive in last weekend’s 28-0 win over Scotland, is also included as are flyhalf Pat Lambie and forwards Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, Coenie Oosthuizen, Tendai Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis.

World champions New Zealand provide the coach in Steve Hansen plus eight players from the All Blacks’ squad now in Europe.

There are also five Argentina internationals at Hansen’s disposal.

Barbarians’ teams traditionally include at least one uncapped player and that role is filled against Fiji by Wellington Hurricanes scrum-half TJ Perenara, on tour with New Zealand but yet to play a Test.

This month’s fixture celebrates the centenary of the Fiji Rugby Union and is a re-match of the Fijians’ shock 29-9 win over the Barbarians at Newcastle Gosforth, north-east England, in 1970.

Barbarians chairman John Spencer, who played in that match, said: “I suppose you could say that we were favourites to win the match but in the event we were overwhelmed by Fiji’s relentless attacking.

“If I remember rightly, we were level at half-time but Fiji finished with seven tries! All we could do at the end was congratulate them on a phenomenal performance,” added the 66-year-old former centre, who played 14 Tests for England from 1969-71.

A large crowd is expected for the match, with more than 60 000 seats sold at a Twickenham ground where the capacity is over 80 000.

Although not normally accorded Test status, matches for the Barbarians — rugby union’s most famous invitational side — have traditionally been regarded as a significant honour for the players selected.

The Barbarians’ most celebrated fixture was their 23-11 win against New Zealand in Cardiff in 1973.

Gareth Edwards’s opening score, when the outstanding Wales scrum-half finished off a seven-man length-of-the-field move initiated by half-back partner Phil Bennett, is still widely regarded as one of rugby union’s greatest tries.

Barbarians squad to play Fiji:

Backs: Willie le Roux (RSA), Santiago Cordero (ARG), Charles Piutau (NZL), Frank Halai (NZL), Jean de Villiers (RSA), Gavin Williams (SAM), Patrick Lambie (RSA), Tom Taylor (NZL), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Martin Landajo (ARG)

Forwards: Keven Mealamu (NZL), Bismarck du Plessis (RSA), Tendai Mtawarira (RSA), Guillermo Roan (ARG), Coenie Oosthuizen (RSA), Matias Diaz (ARG), Eben Etzebeth (RSA), Dominic Bird (NZL), Manuel Carizza (ARG), Steven Luatua (NZL), Luke Whitelock (NZL), Schalk Burger (RSA), Duane Vermeulen (RSA)

NEWS 24

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