12 MARCH 2009

Marching across a bridge in Cape Town at the head of a group of rugby players a blond Matt Damon is almost unrecognisable from his persona in the Bourne film series.

The scene was from his new movie The Human Factor, which examines Nelson Mandela's attempts to unify the country after apartheid by focusing on the South African rugby team's 1995 World Cup triumph.

Matt plays South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar in the film, which is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Morgan Freeman as South Africa's first black president. Both stars swatted up on rugby for the film, with Matt going so far as to join a local team's training sessions in preparation.

The film is based on the book Playing The Enemy: Nelson Mandela And The Game That Made A Nation by British journalist John Carlin. Its screen adaptation was the brainchild of Morgan, who bought the film rights to the work.

Photo: Rex
Matt has gone blond for his role as South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar in The Human Factor
Photo: Rex
Matt took part in training sessions with a local team in preparation for his role as a rugby coach