Johannesburg - Victor Matfield's decision to join the Golden Lions as a forwards consultant for the duration of the Currie Cup may be tough for Blue Bulls fans to digest, but it is actually somewhat of a homecoming for the Springbok legend.
It was at the Cats, after all, where Matfield got his Super Rugby break back in 2000 when he was still playing his rugby out of Griquas.
Back then, his coach in Kimberley was Swys de Bruin, who has now been given the head coach position at the Golden Lions and Lions with Johan Ackermann having departed for Gloucester.
One of De Bruin's first actions was to get Matfield involved.
"It's almost deja vu. I still remember as a 21-year-old getting the call from Swys to come and join him at Griquas," the 40-year-old Matfield told a press briefing in Johannesburg.
"When he called me again now it just felt right.
"The culture that is here at the Lions is fantastic for me to walk in. For me as a young coach now, I think I can learn a lot. They've achieved a lot over the last few years and I'm here to learn. Hopefully I can add something to what they're doing."
Matfield did not view the decision to join the Lions as turning his back on the Bulls.
"It's just the next step in the right direction now," he said.
"I've been with the Bulls for years and I'll always have a special place in my heart for them.
"I'm a young, new coach and this is a new opportunity for me. If anyone had asked me which head coach I'd have wanted to work with it would be Swys because that's where I've learnt a lot of my rugby as a young player, and my rugby career turned out pretty good."
Matfield is working on a consultancy basis until the end of the Currie Cup season, but he hopes he will be able to stay on for longer than that.
Having worked with the Lions players for just a couple of days, he has been impressed by what he has seen so far.
"The work ethic on the field is just fantastic. It's great to see the intensity they train with," he said.
"I've got rugby in my blood. I love the game and the people in it.
"This is a new beginning for me."
The Golden Lions host the Sharks in Currie Cup action on Saturday.