Ellis captains Barbarians against South Africa

Date published: November 2 2016

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The Barbarians will field four South African-born players when they take on the Springboks at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. 

Stormers fly-half Robert du Preez, Lions hooker Akker van der Merwe, Hurricanes prop Reggie Goodes and Lions lock Martin Muller all start against their fellow countrymen with young Lions flanker Ruan Ackermann on the bench.

There are seven internationals in the match day squad with New Zealand’s 2011 World Cup winner Andy Ellis captaining the side.

Du Preez’s father – also named Robert – won seven caps in the 1990s for South Africa and his son broke into the Stormers Super Rugby side this year. He will get the chance to measure himself against Pat Lambie, who captains South Africa from fly half.

The Barbarians are taking on South Africa for the eighth time since 1952 and lead the series 4-3 after victories in 2007 and 2010.

The famous invitation side won 26-20 six years ago when tries from Australia’s Drew Mitchell (2), James O’Connor and Italy’s Quintin Geldenhuys secured victory.

Ellis appeared in that game and understands the unique way the Barbarians combine talent from around the globe in the space of a few days before taking on established international teams.

"It was a pretty special moment beating South Africa last time,” said Ellis. "It’s a beautiful thing. You make friendships. I’m still in touch with the guys I played with in 2010.

"This new team has come together, we’re getting on well and we’re having fun and now it’s just about fronting up and making sure we perform at the weekend. We understand how proud the Barbarians are and we’ve got a real job to do here. 

"The guys want to play for themselves, for the club, for their families – all sorts of different motivations but we’re in a pretty good place. Boks taking on the Boks helps. They’ll certainly want to prove themselves."

After facing South Africa, the Barbarians travel to play the Czech Republic in Prague (November 8) and then take on Fiji in Belfast (November 11).

Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar and Dan Tuohy will join the squad in Belfast and British and Irish Lions wing Tommy Bowe and New Zealand’s double World Cup winner Ben Franks (London Irish) were added to the group heading for the Kingspan Stadium.

Barbarians: 15 Melani Nanai (Blues), 14 Matt Faddes (Highlanders), 13 Seta Tamanivalu (Crusaders & New Zealand), 12 Richard Buckman (Highlanders & Panasonic), 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs, Panasonic & Australia), 10 Robert du Preez (Stormers), 9 Andy Ellis (Crusaders, Kobelco Steelers & New Zealand), 8 Luke Whitelock (Highlanders & New Zealand), 7 Jordan Taufua (Crusaders), 6 Brad Shields (Hurricanes), 5 Michael Fatialofa (Hurricanes), 4 Martin Muller (Lions), 3 Paddy Ryan (Waratahs & Australia), 2 Akker van der Merwe (Lions), 1 Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes)
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready (Reds), 17 Schalk van der Merwe (Montpellier), 18 Toby Smith (Rebels & Australia), 19 Sam Carter (Brumbies & Australia), 20 Ruan Ackermann (Lions), 21 Nic Stirzaker (Rebels), 22 Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders), 23 Luke Morahan (Force & Australia)

Date: Saturday, November 5
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Kick-off: 15:30 GMT
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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