Rugby Championship

Matfield heaps praise on Meyer

2014-08-26 14:26
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok lock Victor Matfield has credited coach Heyneke Meyer who helped convince him to make a comeback in rugby.

Matfield retired from the game after the 2011 Rugby World Cup but made a comeback for the Bulls in this year's Super Rugby competition.

His form was so good that it elevated him back into the Springbok team. He also captained the Boks in the June internationals when regular skipper Jean de Villiers was sidelined with a knee injury.

A recent knee injury also forced Matfield out of the Boks' first two Rugby Championship games against Argentina, but he has since recovered and was included in the squad named for the Australasian leg of the competition.

In an interview with the MyPlayers website, Matfield heaped praise on Meyer for being influential in his comeback.

"When Heyneke Meyer approached me and told me that he believed I could still add value to the Springbok side, that sparked a flame inside of me," said Matfield.

"That flame eventually grew and grew, and inspired me to make a return to the field. I have huge respect for Heyneke, having worked with him at the Bulls. He's played a big part as a coach and mentor during my time as a player. I've always wanted to work with him at Springbok level, and I'm fortunate enough to experience it towards the end of my career."

"As a coach, Heyneke hasn't changed. He expects hard work on the field as he drives excellence. He urges players to play for each other. Off the field, he has instilled great camaraderie within the team. Everybody looks out and cares for one another. We all have a close bond."

Matfield said he will continue playing next year and hopes his form could take him to the World Cup in England.

"Making an effective comeback was the first step and I want to continue doing well for the Bulls and Springboks. Next year, I'll continue as a player-coach with the Bulls during Super Rugby. My main aim is making the Springbok squad for the World Cup. Hopefully, I do well enough to earn selection."

The Springboks' next Rugby Championship clash is against Australia in Perth on September 6.
Springbok squad to travel to Australasia:

Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lodewyk de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen

Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn

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