Springboks

New chapter for Matfield

2014-06-20 07:19
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)

Nelspruit - Victor Matfield will become the most-capped player in South Africa's history when he makes his 112th appearance for the Springboks in the second Test against Wales in Nelspruit on Saturday.

It will also mark another important staging post in the 37-year-old's comeback from retirement.

Matfield, who will captain the side, will surpass John Smit's record of 111 Tests for South Africa, something that would have been unthinkable a few months ago and following his retirement in 2011.

Coach Heyneke Meyer has made no secret of his desire to use Matfield's experience and extraordinary aerial ability at the World Cup next year, but, like the oldest student on campus, the lock needs to pass a few more exams first.

Last weekend, in South Africa's 38-16 victory in Durban, Matfield produced a solid 'B' performance, and Meyer now expects him to step it up the more he plays after returning to Super Rugby this year.

"I think Victor can get better.

"I think he will get steadily better and I expect that he will reach his peak this year when we play against New Zealand and Australia in the Rugby Championship," Meyer told reporters, before adding that the second-rower brings more to the team than just a spring at the lineout.

"Everyone knows about his lineout work, but what I don't think a lot of people realise is how important his contribution is when fielding the kick-offs.

"That was an area where New Zealand were better than us last year, but, as we saw this past week, Victor is able to cover a big area in dealing with the kick-offs.

"He puts in a lot of tackles as well, and is just an unbelievable leader who leads by example both on and off the field."

Meyer expects Matfield and the remainder of the side to receive a tougher Test this weekend against a Welsh side playing their final game of the season and still, after 50 years of trying, seeking a first win on South African soil.

"They've had another week together and will be keen to lift their game on Saturday, but at the same time we were not happy with certain aspects of our game and we've worked hard to rectify that," Meyer said.

"This is their last match of the season, so we're expecting them to come out firing.

"But we also want to make a step up and ensure we keep on improving as the season progresses."

Wales coach Warren Gatland is looking for an improvement on the timid opening 70 minutes his side displayed in Durban.

"We have been really happy with the response from the players during training this week," Gatland said in a statement released by WRU on Thursday.

"We have had a good week and we see Saturday as an opportunity to right the wrongs of last weekend."

Both sides made two changes to their starting line-up, South Africa replacing lock Bakkies Botha and prop Gurthro Steenkamp with Flip van der Merwe and Tendai Mtawarira respectively.

Wales have brought in flank Josh Turnbull and prop Samson Lee for Aaron Shingler and Adam Jones.

Teams:

South Africa
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Flip van der Merwe ,3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Wynand Olivier, 23 Lwazi Mvovo

Wales
15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins

Substitutes: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Paul James, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 James Hook, 23 Matthew Morgan

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

Read more on:    springboks  |  victor matfield  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
26 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
23 August 2014
New Zealand v Australia, Auckland 09:35
Argentina v South Africa, Padre Ernesto Martearena Stadium 21:40
06 September 2014
New Zealand v Argentina, Napier 09:35
Australia v South Africa, Perth 12:05
13 September 2014
New Zealand v South Africa, Wellington 09:35
Australia v Argentina, old Coast Queensland 12:05
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

After the first weekend's Rugby Championship action, which team do you see as the strongest title contender?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.