Matfield named Bok captain
Cape Town - Blue Bulls captain Victor Matfield will lead the national team on their year-end tour match against Ireland on November 9, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said on Friday
The Springboks will face Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England and the Barbarians over a five week period.
"With John Smit being injured and unavailable for such a challenging and important tour, we obviously needed Victor’s leadership qualities," said De Villiers.
"He has filled the role in the past with distinction and has led the Bulls to a string of titles and has been Springbok vice captain for a number of years," he said.
Earlier, Springbok management said that it was considering leaving behind several experienced players as part of its planning for the 2011 World Cup.
However, since De Villiers named his 39-man training squad, which assembled in Johannesburg on Friday, it appears that most of the regular Springboks will go on tour.
"We were talking about revitalising players [then]," said De Villiers.
"We didn’t talk about tiredness, we talked about fatigueness, maybe I did use the word tiredness then, but what I meant was that they needed time away from the game.
"The players were revitalised in those four weeks they went on the conditioning programme away from the game and they looked really sharp when they came back, so it is now the decisions of the selectors on who the team will be that goes overseas," he said.
At the end of the 2009 season, sports guru Professor Tim Noakes warned that the Springboks would have a poor season if they were not rested.
Following an impressive Super 14, where two South African sides featured in the final, the national team could only win one of their six Tri Nations fixtures.
At the time, the senior players in the squad received the most criticism.
"We respect Dr Tim Noakes a lot. He is really clued up in what he’s doing," said De Villiers.
"Scientifically, he has proven a lot of things right, but then you get science an then you get the real world, and we are living in the real world and we will add the science to work for us in this real world.
"The ideal would be to rest the players, but then you must look at the workload and what they really did.
"If you look at the 1600 minutes [time spent playing] like we said, for Beast [Tendai Mtawarira] and then Bryan [Habana], there is a hell of a difference between the two.
"Their involvement in the game is something you have to add to it. There are a lot of things you have to take into consideration. So, in an ideal world if we can get that right we will have players available for very long periods in their careers."
Cheetahs' captain Juan Smith was named as vice-captain for the tour.
The first day of the training camp on Friday concentrated on refining the Springboks' game plan, with meetings and field sessions for forwards and backs.
Six Currie Cup finalists and Blue Bulls' utility forward Danie Rossouw took no part in Friday’s field session as a precaution because of injury niggles.
The rested players were: Juan de Jongh, Danie Rossouw, Jannie du Plessis, Alistair Hargreaves, Willem Albert, Bismarck du Plessis and Schalk Burger.