Cape Town- The 5,000th Barbarians player will take the field against South Africa in the Killik Cup match at Wembley Stadium today.
Founder WP Carpmael was No.1 on the list of the players to wear the invitation club’s famous black and white jersey in 1890.
Today Highlanders wing Matt Faddes will become No.5,000 as the Baa Baas play the 829th match in their illustrious history. Faddes, 24, was presented with a special numbered shirt by rugby greats John Spencer and Derek Quinnell on the eve of the match.
"It’s a tremendous honour to follow in the footsteps of so many great players who have played for such a special club,” said Faddes.
“The Barbarians are known throughout the world for the way they play the game and what they’ve achieved over the years. All of us involved this weekend respect that and we want to play well and add to that history.”
The match against the Springboks is the 64th time the Baa Baas have faced international opponents in a rich history that includes the classic 1973 victory against New Zealand still regarded as one of rugby's greatest.
In the last decade the Barbarians’ record includes victories against England, Fiji, Ireland, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.
The lengthy roll call of rugby’s greats to accept invitations to play for the club includes David Campese, Gareth Edwards, Bryan Habana, Martin Johnson, Jonah Lomu, Richie McCaw and Brian O’Driscoll.
The Barbarians often give talented young uncapped players a stage on which to perform too. Today’s assistant coach Will Greenwood made his debut for the club in 1996 before representing England, the British & Irish Lions and lifting the World Cup in 2003.