Preview: South Africa A v French Barbarians

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:30

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: To paraphrase a line from that well-known Robbie Williams song: Let us entertain you!

That is the theme for the historic match between South Africa A and the French Barbarians, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, in Durban, on Friday.

SA 'A' coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to rugby365 in the build-up to the game, said he expects the French outfit to "live up to their reputation" and give the ball lots of air.

And while the SA 'A' team might be a touch more 'structured', they will have the freedom to enjoy the game.

"I do expected them to give the ball a lot of air," Ackermann said - adding that it is in the nature of French teams to be expansive in their approach.

"With a guy like [their captain] Frédéric Michalak and Heini Adams, who is an assistant coach, they will take a few more risks.

"They will look at chip-kicks, etc. They would be looking to do the unexpected.

"We have to stay within our structure and our gameplan. We have to ensure we retain possession for long periods and don't give them too much possession."

He admitted that the short timeframe i which to prepare will be an issue and winning will always be the main  goal.

However, the players will have the freedom to play and entertain.

"The important aspect is that we must enjoy each other's company these two weeks and retain our philosophy of exciting rugby.

"We want to give them the freedom to enjoy themselves, but we do have a responsibility to the supporters and the country to secure a win.

"We do have a basic structure, but within that there is freedom for the players to enjoy themselves."

Players to watch:

For South Africa A: Springbok wing Ruan Combrinck would like to show Bok coach Allister Coetzee he is fit enough for a call-up to the national team, young Harold Vorster could show he is not just hype, Lionel Cronje could also show he can play higher than Super Rugby level. Te loose forward trio of Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Ruan Ackermann and Uzair Cassiem could also cause some serious damage.

For the French Barbarians: Lock Arnaud Mela, at age 37, gets one final run before walking off into the retirement sunset. Another veteran, flyhalf Frédéric Michalak, may just hold the key to the BaaBaas' success.

Head to head: SA A flyhalf Lionel Cronje and French BaaBaas No.10 Frédéric Michalak are players with great skill and a willingness to push the envelope. They will be the directors and an entertaining game.

Prediction: You can never write off any French team, but South Africa A seem to have more class and should win by about 15 points.

Teams:

South Africa A: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Francois Venter.

Barbarians Français: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Jonathan Danty, 12 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 11 Arthur Bonneval, 10  Frédéric Michalak (captain), 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Judicaël Cancoriet, 6 Anthony Jelonch, 5 Arnaud Mela, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Malik Hamadache, 2 Rémi Bonfils, 1 Khatchik Vartanov.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Clément Ric, 18 Tommy Raynaud, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Romain Sazy, 21 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Clément Poitrenaud.

Date: Friday, June 16
Venue: Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
Kick-off: 16.45 (14.45 GMT)
Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Vusi Msibi (South Africa), Blake Beattie (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)

@rugby365com