Rugby

Saffers galore in Heineken final

2014-05-23 16:13
Bakkies Botha (Getty)
Cape Town - This weekend's Heineken Cup final between Toulon and Saracens has a distinct South African flavour about it.

European rugby's showpiece event will take place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday (kick-off 18:00 SA time).

After the two 23-man squads were announced, Sport24 counted 13 players with South African connections.

For Toulon, wing Bryan Habana, flank Juan Smith, locks Danie Rossouw and Bakkies Botha, hooker Craig Burden and reserve scrumhalf Michael Claassens are all South African-born, while all of them, with the exception of Burden, are Springboks.

For Saracens, centre Brad Barritt, flank Jacques Burger, lock Alistair Hargreaves, prop Matt Stevens, hooker Schalk Brits, reserve lock Mouritz Botha and reserve scrumhalf Neil de Kock all have South African connections. All of them, with the exception of Burger, were born in South Africa.

The 30-year-old Burger is Namibian-born but played a big part of his rugby in South Africa, firstly for Griquas (2005-2007) and then the Blue Bulls (2008-2010).

The match will also be the last time veteran English flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson will play in a European game, after earlier this week announcing he will retire at the end of the European season.

Saturday's game won't be the last for Toulon and Saracens though, as both teams have also qualified for their domestic finals the following week.

Toulon will face Castres in the French Top 14 final at the Stade de France in Paris, while Saracens will tackle Northampton Saints in the English Premiership final at Twickenham.

Teams:

Toulon:

15 Delon Armitage, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Sebastien Tillous Borde, 8 Steffon Armitage, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Xavier Chiocci.

Substitutes: 16 Jean Charles Orioli, 17 Alexandre Menini , 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ali Williams, 20 Virgile Bruni, 21 Maxime Mermoz , 22 Michael Claassens, 23 Jocelino Suta

Saracens:

15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (captain), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 James Johnston, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles

Read more on:    toulon  |  saracens  |  heineken cup  |  rugby
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