Rugby

Matfield to captain Barbarians

2011-11-23 19:41
Victor Matfield (File)

London - Former South Africa lock Victor Matfield will captain a Barbarians team containing 10 different nationalities and more than a thousand Test caps for Saturday's international against Australia at Twickenham.

The 34-year-old Matfield will lead the invitational side out for the last match of his illustrious 10-year international career in which he won 110 caps and was a key part of South Africa's World Cup-winning side in 2007.

"He's a legend in the game - 110 Tests for South Africa, four caps for the Barbarians," said Steve Hansen, the All Blacks defence coach who is part of the Baa-Baas' coaching setup for the match.

"He is a wonderful player and you can see why when you get up close. It's been a pleasure to work with him so far."

The Barbarians have put together a powerful, experienced lineup as they attempt to follow up wins over New Zealand and South Africa in the last two years with another over Australia, who will treat the match as a useful warmup ahead of a Test against Wales in Cardiff on December 3.

Four members of New Zealand's 2011 World Cup-winning squad - Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Adam Thomson and Isaia Toeava - were included in a starting team managed by recently departed All Blacks coach Graham Henry and Hansen, his longtime assistant and possible successor.

Former Australia captain Stirling Mortlock, South Africa winger Bryan Habana and France prop Sylvain Marconnet are other stalwarts to be called up.

At the other end of the scale, Sam Tomkins, the 22-year-old England rugby league fullback who is making a one-off appearance in the 15-man game, starts on the wing in what could be a precursor to an eventual move to union later in his career.

"Sammy's an interesting kettle of fish," Hansen said. "He's coming from the other game and it will be interesting to see how he plays.

"He's got plenty of skill - he's shown that in his league performances this year for England. It will be exciting to see what he does with the ball in hand."

Aside from Tomkins, Crusaders center Robbie Fruean is the other uncapped player in the starting team.

Teams:

Barbarians: 15 Isaia Toeva, 14 Sam Tomkins, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Stirling Mortlock, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Sylvain Marconnet, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Eusebio Guinazu.

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Jason White, 19 Marco Bortolami, 20 Nemia Kenatale, 21 Richard Kahui, 22 Seru Rabeni. 

Australia: TBA

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