Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
2 Nov 2013
7:00 am

Door may be opening for Matfield

Rudolph Jacobs

The shock announcement yesterday that veteran former Springbok lock Victor Matfield might return to first-class rugby next year, was met with an honest assessment by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

FILE PICTURE: Victor Matfield (Coach) during the Vodacom Blue Bulls training session and press conference at Loftus Versveld on September 04, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Matfield, 36, is apparently eyeing a comeback together with former Bulls flyhalf Derick Hougaard.

“This is not in my hands, I’m hardly ever at the Bulls anymore these days,” said Meyer yesterday on the eve of the Bok squad’s departure tonight for England.

“The fact is that we need quality No 5 locks in this country, so it will be interesting to see, while somebody like Pieter-Steph du Toit is an investment for the future.”

Meyer did however add that Matfield is a bit of a freak when it comes to staying in shape and retaining a quality fitness level.

“Listen, Vic is a pro and he will know himself if he’s up to it. He has been doing well as a coach at the Bulls, but the main thing is at Tests we need a quality kick-off and lineout set-piece,” he said.

The return of Matfield’s long-time partner Bakkies Botha to the squad doesn’t mean he will get game time on tour, said Meyer.

“There are players knocking hard on the door and I will make one or two changes for the first Test, but it will be a real arm-wrestle on tour in tough conditions,” he said.

“I was very honest with Bakkies when I phoned him and told him that with Eben Etzebeth in the side, there probably wouldn’t be a place for him.

“But the youngsters could learn from him, while it doesn’t mean he can’t play. There’s now the opportunity to put up his hand and I have always believed Bakkies is world-class.”

And without the injured tighthead Jannie du Plessis on tour, there will be opportunities for the next generation to come through.