Victor and Bakkies: The FINAL goodbye

2015-11-13 09:30
Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha (Gallo)

Cape Town - Victor Matfield will be pairing up with Bakkies Botha for the final time for the Barbarians next week.

The two South African giants won 212 caps between them appearing alongside each other in Springboks second row a record 63 times.

Botha, 36, retired from international rugby in 2014 and makes his final appearances as a professional player at Gloucester on November 17 and against Argentina at Twickenham on November 21. 

Matfield, 38, won the last of his 127 caps in the World Cup Bronze Final and appears for the Barbarians before joining Northampton Saints for the remainder of his final season. 

Together, they were a world-leading combination: Botha the enforcer in the No. 4 shirt, Matfield the general wearing No. 5. Between them they won the World Cup, European trophies, Super Rugby titles, Currie Cups and the French Top 14 crown. 

"This will be the last time we play together properly," said Matfield.

"I suppose there might be a golden oldies game in the future. Some might say we’re golden oldies already. 

"I haven’t seen Bakkies much recently and I don’t know how fit he is but it doesn’t matter how many minutes he plays for, they’ll know he’s been on the pitch. 

"It’ll be great to spend time with him and have some fun on the park." 

Matfield has appeared for the Barbarians on two previous occasions, including the 2009 win over New Zealand secured by a Bryan Habana hat-trick. 

Gloucester at Kingsholm and Argentina at Twickenham will provide two very different challenges but Matfield enjoys the Barbarians experience.  

Six World Cup finalists are on view as well as a handful of other South Africans - their successor Lood de Jager among them - and Fiji’s giant wing Nemani Nadolo. All of them will make new friendships with former rivals. 

"The thing with the Barbarians is that it’s about going back to why we started playing the game and why we love it," said Matfield.

"It’s about expressing yourself on the pitch and doing it with your mates. 

"These days in the professional era you don’t get the chance to mingle but with the Barbarians you play with very good players who you’re normally playing against and it’s an amazing experience. 

"Every time I’ve been involved it’s been unbelievable. If you’re going to the game, if you’ve seen the players involved, you know you can expect to see some great rugby."

Read more on:    barbarians  |  victor matfield  |  bakkies botha  |  rugby

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