The football doesn't stop!

The 2014 SWC might be over, but the PSL and English Premiership are around the corner! Have your say on our Forum!

LIVE

    Matfield's Bok role now key

    2014-03-17 10:30
    Brenden Nel - SuperSport

    Johannesburg - Former Springbok captain Victor Matfield’s role ahead of this year’s international season has taken on a vital importance, especially with the season-ending injury to Cell C Sharks player Pieter-Steph du Toit.

    According to the supersport.com website, Matfield, who starred in the Vodacom Bulls’ win over the Blues a fortnight ago, will now feature even more prominently in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s plans for the upcoming season, especially with the dearth of five locks around the country at the moment.

    In the Blues game – the second game in succession that Matfield started – he certainly looked like the Matfield of old, and not the 36-year old warhorse whose return to the field was roundly questioned across the country.

    But the question now remains – just how should he be managed in the lead up to the international season, given he is a precious commodity at the moment in South African rugby?

    The Bulls have not said it yet, but there certainly is a case for resting Matfield ahead of this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Sharks, especially as their original plan was not to play him much at all during the first part of the season.

    Even coach Frans Ludeke admitted after the Blues win that Matfield’s form made it difficult for him not to pick him, especially given the way he has adapted to returning to the game and how he has played in the last two matches.

    “I’m not sure,” Ludeke told supersport.com when asked after the Blues game how they hope to manage Matfield with the season still a long and hard road ahead.

    “We will have to take it week by week,” was all he offered.

    But it was an indication that the Bulls would have loved to play him every game, if they didn’t have to worry that he might break down halfway during the season.

    The Bulls have the option this week, if Matfield is rested, to play Flip van der Merwe at five and bring in the young and physical Paul Willemse at four – the same combination they tried in the Durban game to open the season.

    Grant Hattingh is also back and is an option, as is David Bulbring, who scored a try in the Vodacom Cup side’s loss to the Pumas this past weekend.

    Either way, the plan was always to nurse Matfield through the season, play him sparingly that he may play a significant role in the international season for Meyer’s team. This is even more underlined at the moment as the big lock seems to be getting better with every game.

    Meyer also has the likes of Franco van der Merwe to call on, while Juandre Kruger is playing some great rugby in France and deserves a second chance.

    But other than that there aren’t too many candidates that are sticking their hands up at the moment, and the five jersey is one where Meyer knows what he wants to ensure a steady and top lineout in the international season.

    The Bull should not be tempted to over play Matfield, whatever his form, and will know that sticking to their original plan may be a great way to ensure his longevity.

    Thus don’t be surprised if he is given the weekend off when the Sharks hit Pretoria on Saturday, or if Ludeke decides against that, that he has a very limited role to play in the game.

    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
    43 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • SS3
      Fri, 01 Aug 2014 @
      04:00
    • SS4
      Fri, 01 Aug 2014 @
      05:00
    • SS5
      Fri, 01 Aug 2014 @
      05:59
    • SS7
      Fri, 01 Aug 2014 @
      06:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk

    Fixtures

    02 August 2014
    • Waratahs v Crusaders, Sydney 11:40

    Results

    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    The 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby final will be contested between the Waratahs and Crusaders. Who is your money on?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

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