Matfield: Barbarians perfect start for 'new' South Africa at Wembley

THE Babarians clash with South Africa is shaping up to be one of the outstanding contests of the year according to rugby legend Victor Matfield.

The lock forward has led both teams and is looking forward to seeing the Springboks attempt to end their losing run against the world famous invitation side at Wembley Stadium connected by EE in November.
"The last two times the Barbarians have played South Africa they’ve gone very well so they’ll be excited to get stuck into them again,” said Matfield. "With a new coach coming in he might blood some young players and this game gives him that opportunity. It’s a great opening game for the tour for them to show what they can do.
"Wembley’s a fantastic venue. I never had the experience of going there as a player and I know it’ll be a privilege for those who are there for South Africa in that stadium. I’ve been there in the stands with nearly 100,000 watching. It’ll be a great experience.”
The November 5 match launches South Africa’s European tour with a new coach due to succeed Heyneke Meyer and a new-look team aiming to build on the achievements of those who reached the World Cup semi final last year.
"A lot of experience needs to be replaced,” said Matfield. "They’ve lost players like me, Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger, Willem Alberts who won’t be involved any more. There will be a new captain, new players and it is an exciting time. 
“But 10 or 11 of the World Cup squad were under 24 and they can take the jersey and make it better. They’ve got a fantastic front row, Adriaan Strauss might be captain, Lood de Jager’s going to have a great career and there are so many good young backs like Handre Pollard, Damian De Allende, Jessie Kriel.”
Matfield, playing the final season of his career with Northampton Saints, led the Barbarians in a 41-29 defeat against Argentina and scored the last of the game’s 12 tries.
"I enjoyed the try - it’s always nice to throw the ball around and I handled the ball a few times in the play,” said Matfield, who summed up the lasting appeal of the Barbarians.
“It was just a great opportunity to play with some of the best players in the world. You get to be with the big names and you can play with that freedom. 
"It goes back to why you started playing the game. You get to play with your mates and have a good time. There’s not a lot of pressure - not like there is in a Test match - although you want to do the jersey proud and you can express yourself with guys you don’t normally get the chance to play with. You take away plenty of memories.”
Barbarians v South Africa tickets are available from ticketmaster.co.uk Click here for details

You can make it an even more memorable day with a hospitality package from Club Wembley, for more info click here email hospitality@wembleystadium.com or call 0800 783 1440.