121 years on from their inaugural fixture against Hartlepool Rovers, the Barbarians have become world-renowned as the greatest elite invitational squad of internationals, combining all the flair and passion that epitomised their founder’s vision in 1890. The current crop include four World Cup winners from the All Blacks side who defeated France by one point a month ago, a colossal all-PUMA second row pairing of Simon Shaw and Victor Matfield (c) and a young English rugby league sensation on the wing to complete the Baa-Baas familiarly eclectic starting line-up.
The Barbarians are all set for an afternoon of entertainment, but have a fantastic track record in the recent past against top sides having beaten New Zealand, England, Ireland, South Africa and Wales in 2009 and 2010. For the Wallabies, the fixture provides PUMA’s James O’Connor with his first start at fly-half after notching up the second highest points total at this year’s World Cup after much controversy in the Australian press as to what is his best playing position. Having already proved himself at full-back and on the wing, we’re sure James will impress when directing operations in the critical number 10 position.
Perhaps more significantly, tomorrow’s game represents Victor Matfield’s last on the global stage and the South African icon has been named captain in honour of his achievements over an outstanding 110 Test career that have made him the most capped lock in history, a double Tri-Nations winner, World Cup winner and player of the tournament in 2007. Congratulations Big Vic!
Do you think the Barbarians will triumph at Twickenham?