Rassie Erasmus: Barbarians an extra chance to prepare Springboks for World Cup

Rassie Erasmus takes Barbarians training ahead of their match with Argentina at Twickenham Saturday. Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians

Rassie Erasmus says he is using the Barbarians match against Argentina Saturday as an extra opportunity to prepare for next year's Rugby World Cup.

The South Africa head coach will be joined by 13 members of his Springboks squad as they represent the Baa-Baas against the Pumas at Twickenham, rounding off a long international campaign which concluded with a defeat against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

But instead of handing his players an early break, Erasmus has invited several of his star names to join his Barbarians side, including captain Siya Kolisi, fly-half Handre Pollard and World Rugby's Breakthrough Player of the Year Aphiwe Dyanti.

"I really see it as an extra game we can use to prepare and get ready for the World Cup," Erasmus said. "For me this Barbarians game is gold. It gives the guys another chance. All of us want to play for the Barbarians, they all threw their name in the hat.

"I don't think this is a thing that emotionally drains you during the week, and I'm not in any way saying this isn't going to be a proper match. We all know it's going to be a big match against Argentina, but it's almost rewarding the players for doing well. So yeah, the more players we have in here is beneficial for us."

The 13 South African players will be joined by representatives from seven other nations as they compete for the Killik Cup. They include Fiji's Frank Lomani, France's Alexandre Menini, Italy's Tomasso Benvenuti, the retiring New Zealand prop Wyatt Crockett -- who will captain the team -- as well as Argentina's Juan Manuel Leguizamon, who will play against his international teammates.

"The whole thing around the Barbarians is to bring all these cultures together and I think that's why it's so well supported," Erasmus said.

"We would like to really entertain, enjoy it, have fun, but be really competitive and give Argentina a good game because it's Test match rugby.

"It's a thank you [to the players] for trying so hard during the year and it's go and enjoy yourselves. A lot of countries would kill you on the front page of the newspapers if you've tried your best and had some fun and you lost the game. Yes it's a professional game and we're going to be playing against a very professional side in Argentina but you're going to play it with a few different country's members together, so go and enjoy it.

"I'd like to give every single player who's in the 23 at least 30 minutes minutes on Saturday and then everyone is part of it. I don't think anyone is looking tired and not happy to be here. There are six or seven guys in the Springboks team who are pissed off at me because they are not here. So it's easy to make them [the ones who are here] happy and enjoy themselves."

Eben Etzebeth has remained with the Barbarians squad despite picking up an injury against Wales on Saturday. The South African lock won't feature against Argentina and Erasmus said he will the "the biggest mascot in the world" this week before the game.

"I want to enjoy this game and learn as well," Erasmus added. "There are a lot of names here, Liguizamon, Crockett, all of these guys from other countries who we can learn from."