Scarlets will welcome rugby’s most famous invitational club, the Barbarians, to Parc y Scarlets on Saturday, September 16 for the Phil Bennett Memorial Game.
Llanelli and Scarlets legend ‘Benny’ produced a host of memorable moments in the scarlet of his home town and the black and white hoops of the Baa-Baas, notably, his dazzling, side-stepping run that launched ‘the greatest try of all time’ against the All Blacks in 1973.
Benny played 20 times for the Barbarians, the second highest by any Welshman and bettered only by another Llanelli great RH Williams, with 22 appearances. He also scored 181 points, played against Scotland, Fiji, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (twice) and captained the club on 10 occasions.
The match will kick off at 2.30pm to sign off our 150-year celebrations and to cap a feast of rugby that day, Wales’ Rugby World Cup clash against Portugal will be shown on the giant screen in the Supporters Village afterwards.
Scarlets have played the world-famous invitational side on three previous occasions, the last to officially open the Parc y Scarlets stadium in January 2009 when a capacity 14,500 crowd watched the home side run out 40-24 winners against a team containing the likes of All Blacks Anton Oliver and Ben Blair. Current Scarlets Jonathan Davies and Ken Owens were part of the Scarlets squad that day.
The sides also met at Stradey Park in 1965 (28-15 to Barbarians) to mark the opening of the new changing rooms and dining hall at the ground and in 1972 (33-17 to Llanelli), as part of the club’s centenary celebrations. The visitors that day included Lions greats Fran Cotton and Fergus Slattery.
Scarlets Executive Chairman Simon Muderack said: “It is a huge honour for the club to be welcoming the Barbarians to Llanelli once again for what promises to be a memorable occasion at the end of our 150-year celebrations. To be celebrating an incredible player like Phil who shone for both great clubs makes it that more special.”
Scarlets Head Coach Dwayne Peel said: “To be able to host an iconic side like the Barbarians is fantastic for everyone at the Scarlets – players, coaches, staff and, of course, our supporters. It promises to be another great occasion ahead of the new season and a fitting way to remember a legend like Benny.”
We will keep you updated on the stars who will line up for the Baa-Baas, with the tour party having an Australian flavour.
Former Wallabies fly-half Berrick Barnes and centre Nathan Grey will be part of an all-Aussie coaching team along with ex-Australia assistant Laurie Fisher and Jason Gillmore, the current NSW Waratahs assistant coach.
Barnes said: “Thank you to the Barbarians for this amazing opportunity to be a part of such an iconic rugby institution. The Barbarians represent all that is good about the game and I can’t wait to rip in alongside three incredible Aussie coaches and bring a bit of fun and flair to Parc y Scarlets on September 16.”
Grey added: “Having had the honour of playing for the Barbarians in 2005 it was something I will always be grateful for and enjoyed thoroughly. Being asked to help coach the team with a great bunch of Aussie coaches is equally as exciting. An opportunity that I will grab with both hands and do my best to contribute to the fabric of the Baa-Baas ethos and playing style. I can’t wait.”
Tickets start at £20 for adults and £8 for U16s and are on sale now at tickets.scarlets.wales or by ringing the Scarlets Ticket Office on 01554 292939.
Purchases include a donation to the Phil Bennett Foundation.