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Jean embraces Baa-Baas tradition

  • 28 Nov 2013
Jean de Villiers says the Baa-Baas bring friendship back to rugby

Jean de Villiers is revelling in the role of Baa-Baas captain and respects what it means to play in the black and white jersey.

De Villiers is one of seven current Boks who will come up against Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

‘It’s a great honour to be captaining the Barbarians, and the special thing is that it’s only by invite, so some players never even get the chance to play. I’m just happy to be playing my second game for the Baa-Baas.’

De Villiers said there is a challenge in trying to put a team together and create combinations in such a short time, but feels that the talent of the players makes the task easy.

‘It’s important to get the platform to get to know the guys off the field as well, and that’s just as important as the time spent on the field.

‘We’ve had a training session and you can just see the natural ability of all the players makes everyone’s jobs easier. We do have structures to our game, but then again, we want to go out and entertain the crowd on Saturday. So we’ll spend some time having a couple of drinks later in the week and then have a good time on the field.’

De Villiers said he admired the professionalism that All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who is coaching the Baa-Baas on Saturday, had brought.

‘He’s only lost one Test match in a two-year period, which is remarkable. He seems to get the best out of his players and hopefully he can do that for us this weekend.’

While De Villiers is confident in the Baa-Baas pool of talent, he knows the Fijians won’t lie down easily.

‘They’ve got the natural ability and skill to play rugby and we have to expect anything on Saturday. They’re great athletes, big and quick guys who can step and offload. We just need to make sure we hold on to the ball and do the attacking, not them.’

The Bok captain believes the Barbarians can still keep pace with the game that’s changed from the amateur to professional era, and that the Baa-Baas' existence in the rugby world is important.

‘In the professional era, I think that the friendship part of rugby has been lost, in a way. These days, teams play each other hard for 80 minutes and there’s not often time to socialise afterwards. This gives the platform to do that, and instead of just smashing each other, you can sit down together, have a drink and talk about smashing each other instead of doing it.

‘Rugby is unique in that guys can see the difference in playing hard against each other on the field and then once the final whistle blows, be friends off the field.’

DEBATE: Should Springboks be playing for the Barbarians?

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

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