There will be entertainment aplenty when the Barbarians take on Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday 21 November
What do World Cup winner Nehe Milner-Skudder, South Africa’s most-capped player Victor Matfield, Fiji cult hero Nemani Nadolo and World Rugby Coach of the Year Michael Cheika have in common? They will all be at Twickenham on Saturday 21 November hoping to help the Barbarians beat Argentina.
And they’re not the only star names involved. Matfield’s long-term lock partner Bakkies Botha will be donning the famous black-and-white stripes, as will new generation Springbok second-row Lood de Jager. World champions Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Charlie Faumuina and Waisake Naholo are also in the squad and so are losing World Cup finalists Stephen Moore, Tevita Kuridrani and Scott Fardy.
For those keen to watch new talent in action, too, uncapped flanker Ardie Savea, brother of All Blacks wing Julian, is being tipped as Richie McCaw’s successor and is also in New Zealand’s sevens squad, so he should suit the Barbarians’ style of play perfectly.
Matfield, who has represented the BaaBaas twice before, is looking forward to getting to know players from around the world as they play Gloucester at Kingsholm on Tuesday night – tickets are available from £15 for adults and £5 for children by clicking here – before facing the Pumas on Saturday. The 127-cap Northampton lock says: “These days in the professional era you don’t get the chance to mingle, but with the Barbarians you play with very good players who you’re normally playing against and it’s an amazing experience.”
It’s the quality of the opposition as much as the star-studded Barbarians squad that makes this fixture so enticing, though. Argentina impressed throughout the World Cup, knocking out Ireland and eventually finishing fourth. Their new-found attacking style should prove a real match for the BaaBaas, who traditionally prefer to keep the ball in hand too. So there should be plenty of exciting running to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade has selected a strong group of players to return to Twickenham. Captain Agustin Creevy, half-backs Martin Landajo and Nicolas Sanchez, and ‘The Magician’ Juan Martin Hernandez are all involved, as is livewire wing Santiago Cordero. The battle up front between Pumas tighthead Ramiro Herrera and Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, the Springbok in the BaaBaas’ line-up, should also be worth watching.
Matfield, 38, adds: “The thing with the Barbarians is that it’s about going back to why we started playing the game and why we love it. It’s about expressing yourself on the pitch and doing it with your mates.
“Every time I’ve been involved it’s been unbelievable. If you’re going to the game, if you’ve seen the players involved, you know you can expect to see some great rugby.”
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Tickets for the Barbarians v Argentina game at Twickenham are priced from £30 for adults and £15 for children – head to ticketmaster.co.uk to book.