Jean, Hansen on the same side

2013-11-29 07:48
Jean de Villiers (Getty Images)

London - Jean de Villiers hopes some of Steve Hansen's managerial gold dust rubs off on the Barbarians when he captains the invitational team against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

Hansen's All Blacks have only lost one Test match in the last two years and de Villiers's Springbok squad lost twice to the world champions during the recent Rugby Championship.

But South Africa captain de Villiers and New Zealand coach Hansen now find themselves on the same side for the Barbarians in a match that celebrates the Fiji Rugby Union's centenary.

And the 96-times capped centre cannot wait to end his season in style at 'headquarters'.

"It's a great honour to be captaining the Barbarians," said de Villiers.

"The special thing is that it's only by invite, so some players never even get the chance to play. I'm just happy to be playing my second game for the Baa-Baas.

"Steve's only lost one Test match in a two-year period, which is remarkable. He seems to get the best out of his players and hopefully he can do that for us this weekend.

"It is a fantastic occasion for all the guys to come together. The Barbarians have a proud tradition so we will want to put on a good show."

De Villiers will be surrounded by plenty of familiar faces, with several Springboks set to feature in Hansen's matchday 23, including Schalk Burger.

The flank has endured a miserable 18 months with injury and then illness but eased his way back into action with Western Province near the end of the Currie Cup.

Hansen will also have a chance to field some of his lesser-used All Blacks at Twickenham, the venue for the 2015 World Cup final, with the likes of wing Frank Halai, scrum-half TJ Perenara and lock Dominic Bird all on hand.

And Keven Mealamu, the veteran All Blacks hooker who is set to start on the bench on Saturday, insisted everyone in the squad was itching to put on a show for the crowd.

"Having fun is one of the first things Steve talked about," he said.

"We're going to have a fun week but as rugby players we're all about reputations, so what we want to do is make a good impression on the field as well.

"We want to make sure we can say 'yes, we played well', and we don't want to let the jersey down."

While the Barbarians are all smiles, Fiji have spent the build-up to the game working out how to field the strongest team they can as the match falls outside the international window.

The contest is a re-match of the Fijians' shock 29-9 win over the Barbarians at Newcastle Gosforth in 1970 but Fiji team manager Joe Browne said his side were up against it after seeing a host of players return to their clubs following last weekend's 26-7 defeat of Romania.

"The game against Romania was, as we expected, really tough up front and they battled us all the way to the wire," said Browne, who has lost Napolioni Nalaga, Timoci Nagusa, Wame Lewaravu, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Sisa Koyamaibole, Malakai Bakaniceva and Nemani Nadolo.

"The nightmare is making sure that we have replacement players for the match against the Barbarians.

"We hope to rope in Netani Talei, Nikola Matawalu, Leone Nakarawa and Henry Speight to fill the gap and have our fingers crossed."

Read more on:    jean de villiers  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

How will the Springboks fare in their three end of year tour Tests against England, Italy and Wales?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.