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Schalk: Exciting Babarians will test South Africa at Wembley

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SPRINGBOKS legend Schalk Burger believes South Africa's next generation of stars will face a unique test when they take on the Barbarians.

Burger won the last of 86 international caps at last year's World Cup and will join English Premiership outfit Saracens from the Stormers later this year.

The flanker has also made significant appearances for the Barbarians, including a victory against New Zealand in 2009 that was the famous invitation club’s first win over the All Blacks since the legendary 1973 contest.

The Barbarians are back in action against South Africa at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on November 5, when the latest generation of Springboks launch their Northern Hemisphere tour in the Killik Cup match.

"It’s an important year for South Africa - big time,” said Burger. "After every World Cup year there’s a step forward and South Africa have shown that. There’s a big group of new players who want to attack and I think it will be exciting to watch.

"The Barbarians have won the last two games between the sides which is something they’ll be proud of. 

"The Boks will approach it as an important building block and will want to see where they are before they play England. The Barbarians will bring a special amount of fun and energy to the contest and that will make it an exciting game.”

Burger has appeared against New Zealand, Australia and Fiji for the Barbarians - playing alongside the likes of Matt Giteau, Jerry Collins, George Gregan, Richie McCaw, Shane Williams and Bryan Habana in the famous black and white shirt. 

“The first thing that stands out is meeting all these great guys and legends,” he said. "My first appearance was in 2004 and you didn’t know what it was going to be like - then suddenly you realise what it’s all about.

"You don’t get to mingle much these days and it was amazing. You put all your perceptions of people to one side, broke all the barriers down. It’s one of rugby’s great traditions. 

"You play against tough guys and you not sure what they’re like. Chris Latham was quite a cocky player, then you met him and learned what a great family man he was and what a great bloke. Jerry Collins was a real intimidating figure but you spent time with him and learned that he’s a rugby man through and through.”

The high point was that last outing against New Zealand, when the Barbarians were 25-18 winners.

"In 2009 South Africa had beaten New Zealand three times and Nick Mallett and Alan Solomons were coaching the Barbarians and there were a lot of Springboks in the team,” said Burger.

"By the weekend we knew we had a chance. Bryan Habana scored a couple of early tries, then you start believing and you instinctively do the right things. The Barbarians reputation is something you want to enhance.”

For tickets to Barbarians v South Africa visit ticketmaster.co.uk

Picture: Schalk Burger (left) in the Barbarians changing room with Bakkies Botha and Richie McCaw after taking on Australia in 2008