Bok captain and NZ coach to take on Fiji

2013-11-27 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — A Springbok captain and an All Black coach wearing the Barbarian colours will be the deadly combination that awaits the Fiji ruby team at Twickenham in London on Saturday.

Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers was yesterday named as the Baabaas captain for this game, which will commemorate 100 years of Fijian rugby.

De Villiers led the Springboks last weekend to their 10th win this year out of 12 Tests, but the Barbarian team is coached by Steve Hansen, whose team are the only one keeping the Boks from the number one spot in world rugby.

Hansen’s All Blacks won all 14 of their Test matches this year, making them the first team to complete a perfect year since the start of the professional era.

There are eight of his All Black players in the Barbarian team, but the 27-year-old De Villiers, who currently is playing the best rugby of his career, will lead the team.

“Jean de Villiers confirmed as Baabaas captain. Baabaas has an All Black coach and Springbok captain. Powerful!” the Barbarian club excitedly tweeted yesterday.

The Barbarians also confirmed on Twitter that Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will miss the game as a result of an ankle injury during the win against France.

His place has been taken by another Springbok, Flip van der Merwe.

“Injured Etzebeth replaced by another colossal and roughly built talent, namely Flip van der Merwe. One Bok out, another one in,” was the colourful way in which the Barbarians tweeted about the changes to the team.

“Rest, get fit and hopefully we will see you next time, chum,” was the message to the 22-year-old Etzebeth, who has just been announced as one of the five nominations for the International Rugby Board’s Player of the Year award.

Other members of the successful South African touring group who accompanied De Villiers and Van der Merwe to London to play for the Barbarians after the win against France, are Willie le Roux, Pat Lambie, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Bismarck du Plessis and Duane Vermeulen. Schalk Burger, who was also invited to represent the Barbarians, will be the ninth South African in the group that will take on Fiji.

Burger only recently began playing again after a long battle with injuries and later meningitis.

The former Blue Bull , Griquas and Namibia Test flank Jacques Burger, who currently plays for Saracens in England, expressed his joy about Burger’s inclusion on Twitter.

“Wonderful to see Schalk Burger in the Barbarian group. He has been to hell and back,” tweeted Burger.

The Barbarians: Willie le Roux (SA), Santiago Cordero (Arg), Charles Piutau (NZ), Frank Halai (NZ), Jean de Villiers (SA, c), Gavin Williams (Sam), Pat Lambie (SA), Tom Taylor (NZ), TJ Perenara (NZ), Martin Landajo (Arg), Tendai Mtawarira (SA), Guillermo Roan (Arg), Coenie Oosthuizen (SA), Matias Diaz (Arg), Keven Mealamu (NZ), Bismarck du Plessis (SA), Flip van der Merwe (SA), Dominic Bird (NZ), Manuel Carizza (Arg), Steven Luatua (NZ), Luke Whitelock (NZ), Schalk Burger (SA) and Duane Vermeulen (SA).

Coach: Steve Hansen.

Assistant coach: Mark Bakewell

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