Cape Town - Bakkies Botha will captain the Barbarians in the first rugby
match staged at the Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The 2007 Rugby World Cup winner leads the invitation side against
Samoa on Saturday as rugby arrives at the iconic London 2012 Olympic and
Paralympic venue. His team contains international stars from Australia, South
Africa and New Zealand as well as a Samoa representative in Paul Williams.
Botha made 85 appearances for the Springboks and is the most
experienced player in a group with a total of 455 Test caps between them.
The starting line-up also includes Benn Alexander (72 caps),
Pierre Spies (53), Carl Hayman (45), Wynand Olivier (38), Luke Burgess (37),
and Saia Fainga’a (36).
Equally exciting are the trio of uncapped players who
include Glasgow Warriors’ giant wing Taqele Naiyaravoro, the Japan-based New
Zealander Dwayne Sweeney and athletic Melbourne Rebels lock Luke Jones.
Former All Blacks Jamie Joseph and Carlos Spencer are
coaching the Barbarians, who celebrate their 125th anniversary this year.
“Bakkies Botha is a substantial figure in the game who
commands respect and he’ll lead by example on what should be a great day at
such a famous venue,” said coach Joseph.
“The Barbarians have been able to put together a side with a
great deal of experience and talent and we want to play competitive, exciting
rugby that lives up to the best traditions of the club. It’s a privilege to be
“We have immense respect for Samoa’s traditions, too, and
understand that this is an important day for them as they complete their
preparations for the World Cup. It should make for a great game.”
The Barbarians v Samoa match is part of testing programme
run by England Rugby 2015, the Rugby World Cup 2015 Organising Committee, and
will allow them to trial aspects of match day delivery ahead of the
venue hosting five Rugby World Cup 2015 matches, including the Bronze
Final, later this year.
Samoa will go on to open their Rugby World
Cup 2015 campaign against the USA at Brighton Community Stadium on
September 20. The islanders then go on to face South Africa, Scotland and
Japan in Pool B of the tournament.
15 Paul Williams (Stade Francais & Samoa), 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Glasgow Warriors), 13 Ben Tapuai (Western Force & Australia), 12 Wynand Olivier (Montpellier & South Africa), 11 Dwayne Sweeney (Munakata Sanix Blues), 10 Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies & Australia), 9 Luke Burgess (Zebre & Australia), 8 Pierre Spies (Blue Bulls & South Africa), 7 Liam Gill (Reds & Australia), 6 Adam Thomson (Reds & New Zealand), 5 Luke Jones (Melbourne Rebels), 4 Bakkies Botha (South Africa - captain), 3 Carl Hayman (New Zealand), 2 Saia Fainga’a (Reds & Australia), 1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs & Australia)
Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu (Waratahs), 17 Joshua Hohneck (Highlanders), 18 Maks van Dyk (Cheetahs), 19 Ali Williams (New Zealand), 20 Jacques Potgieter (Munakata Sanix Blues & South
Africa), 21 Nic Groom (Stormers), 22 Mike Harris (Melbourne Rebels & Australia), 23 Tom English (Melbourne Rebels)