Preview of Barbarians clash with Fiji at Twickenham
Last Updated: 29/11/13 12:58pm
The Barbarians and Fiji go head-to-head in what promises to be an entertaining encounter at Twickenham on Saturday.
Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers leads a Baa-baas team with several experienced internationals in their ranks against a Fijian side who will be determined to secure victory in an encounter that celebrates the centenary of the Fiji Rugby Union.
The match - being screened live on Sky Sports 2 HD from 2.25pm - is a re-match of the Fijians' shock 29-9 win over the Barbarians at Newcastle Gosforth in 1970.
The Baa-baas are coached by All Blacks boss Steve Hansen and De Villiers admitted that he's relishing the challenge of captaining the famous touring team and looking forward to working with Hansen who led his team to 14 victories out of 14 in Tests this year.
"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 eight Springboks in Hansen's matchday 23.
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, flanker Steven Luatua and lock Dominic Bird all in the run-on side.
Fiji have spent the build-up to the game working out how to field their strongest team as the match falls outside the international window.
Fiji team manager Joe Browne said his side were battling to field a competitive side as several of their players returned to their clubs following last weekend's 26-7 victory against 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."
Barbarians: 15 Cordero, 14 Halai, 13 Williams, 12 de Villiers (capt), 11 Piutau, 10 Lambie, 9 Perenara, 8 Vermeulen, 7 Burger, 6 Luatua, 5 Bird, 4 O'Driscoll, 3 Diaz, 2 du Plessis, 1 Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Mealamu, 17 Roan, 18 Oosthuizen, 19 Carizza, 20 Whitelock, 21 Landajo, 22 Taylor, 23 le Roux