Springbok star Vermeulen's post-World Cup plan revealed
NEWS: South African World Cup winner Duane Vermeulen and Argentine back row star Pablo Matera will join up with the Barbarians squad following the World Cup in France.
The pair has been selected to join the Barbarians side being assembled to face Wales at Principality Stadium on Saturday.
The Springboks have impressed in their opening two games at the World Cup this month, beating Scotland and Romania to date, and are gearing up for a clash with World Ranked No.1 side Ireland in round three.
Vermeulen, who is one of the giants of the forward game in world rugby, has not been named in the Boks’ squad to face Ireland on Saturday.
He has played in South Africa, Japan, France and Ireland and currently boasts 73 caps.
A ball-carrying No.8 with thunderous power, he has already played at Principality Stadium four times with the Springboks and has a 50 percent record against Wales. His overall record against his Cardiff hosts this November is better, with six wins from eight games.
Matera is another world-class back row man who has plied his trade across the globe. As well as playing Super Rugby with the Jaguares, and winning 93 caps for the Los Pumas, he has appeared for the Crusaders, Leicester Tigers, Stade Francais Paris and Honda Heat in Japan.
Vermeulen and Matera will be joined by another legendary back row man at the home of Welsh rugby in the 125-times capped Australian player Michael Hooper. He missed out on the World Cup through injury but played in the 2015 Final defeat to New Zealand at Twickenham.
Hooper holds the record for leading his country the most times, 69, and has won six of his seven games against Wales in Cardiff.
“It’s an honour to wear the famous Black & White jersey of the BaaBaas, which has created some of the best rugby moments in our game,” said the Barbarians co-coach, Scott Robertson.
“To play a week after one of the best Rugby World Cups ever played, with players from all over the World showing what it means to play for their country, the players will now get to show their class in front of an incredible Principality Stadium crowd against a proud Welsh side.
“Having Alun Wyn Jones, Michael Hooper, Duane Vermeulen and Pablo Matera in the side will create the base of an experienced Barbarians team. It’s a great opportunity to send off some of the greats of the game in front of passionate fans.”
Alun Wyn Jones has already been named as one of the star attractions in the Baa-Baas side for what will be his farewell to the Welsh fans who supported him throughout his record-breaking career of 158 Welsh caps, four tours with the British & Irish Lions and three Grand Slams.
He is currently playing in the Top 14 at Toulon but will be heading home for what promises to be a very special occasion. He made his Barbarians debut in the win over a World XV at Twickenham earlier this year after retiring from Welsh international rugby, and then also turned out for the famous invitational side against his first senior club, Swansea at St Helen’s.
“Alun Wyn will have been the first name on many team sheets for many years and I’m not only looking forward to meeting him and coaching him, but also watching him in his final dance,” added Robertson.
Joining Robertson in the Baa-Baas coaching team will be current Australian World Cup coach, Eddie Jones. He will be going head-to-head with Warren Gatland in Lyon this weekend in the third round of the Pool C qualifying matches at the World Cup.
At stake could well be a place in the knock-out stage for both teams, adding extra edge to their re-match in the Welsh capital in November.
“Principality Stadium is one of the best places in the world to play rugby and when you add the passion and fervour of a Welsh crowd and the unique and exciting brand of rugby the Barbarians are famous for, we have a match in prospect that will be the envy of fans around the globe,” said Jones.