This coming week, 26 November, we see the Australian rugby team facing the Barbarians at Twickenham before playing against Wales at the Millennium Stadium the next week.
Victor Matfield is one of the squad members and most probably playing his last rugby game of his career.
Born in Pietersburg on 11 May 1977, his spectacular career on the field comes to an end. He played for Griquland West (1999-2000), and then the Blue Bulls from 2001. He made his Test debut on 30 June 2001 vs Italy in Port Elizabeth at the age of 24. He played in 110 Tests and 4 tour matches which makes him the most capped lock. Combined with Bakkies they hold the record for the most tests as a lock pair, 62 times they have started together. He captained the Boks 17 times in his career. He was nominated as Player of the Year 5 times and in 2004 his try vs Australia in Durban was awarded the Supersport Try of the Year.
The Australia coach, Robbie Deans, has named three uncapped players in their squad. A long injury list has led to a call-up for the Queensland Reds centre Ben Tapuai and his team-mate Ben Lucas, who can play at fly-half or full-back, as well as the New South Wales Waratahs back-row Dave Dennis. Nine members of Australia’s World Cup squad were unavailable for the tour because of injuries. Kurtley Beale, Drew Mitchell, Pat McCabe, Quade Cooper, Wycliff Palu, Rocky Elsom, Dan Vickerman, Sekope Kepu and Luke Burgess were not considered. Deans said the new trio had the chance to make their mark. “It’s a great opportunity for the three of them to take the next step in their careers,” he said. The prop Pek Cowan is the only other member of the Australian squad who did not appear at the World Cup, winning the most recent of his four caps off the bench during the 39-20 win over South Africa in Sydney in July.”While this is a relatively brief visit by current standards, both fixtures promise to be exceedingly demanding,” Deans said. “We’ve just seen at the Rugby World Cup how much and how quickly playing resources can be taxed.”
Australia squad: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Pekahou Cowan, Dave Dennis, Anthony Faingaa, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Rob Horne, James Horwill (captain), Digby Ioane, Ben Lucas, Salesi Ma’afu, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, James O’Connor, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota Nau, Radike Samo, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Ben Tapuai, Lachie Turner. (this info courtesy The Guardian in the UK )
The Barbarians are being coached by the WC winning coach Graham Henry.
2 other South Africans are included in the sqaud: Bryan Habana and Adriaan Strauss.
The Barbarians squad assembles on the 22 of November and a captain will be picked then. (Personally I would not be surprised if they pick Matfield as captain.)
Barbarians squad:Bryan Habana (South Africa), Isaia Toeava (New Zealand), Robbie Fruean (Crusaders), Stirling Mortlock (Australia), Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), Stephen Jones (Wales), Danny Cipriani (England), Peter Stringer (Ireland), Nemia Kenatale (Fiji), Keven Mealamu (New Zealand), Adriaan Strauss (South Africa), Salvatore Perugini (Italy), Sylvain Marconnet (France), Eusebio Guinazu (Argentina), Victor Matfield (South Africa), Simon Shaw (England), Marco Bortolami (Italy), Jason White (Scotland), Jerome Kaino (New Zealand), Adam Thomson (New Zealand), Mauro Bergamasco (Italy).