Bok door open for Matfield

2013-11-01 21:36
Heyneke Meyer and Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has left the door open for former Bok captain Victor Matfield to make a stunning return to the game two years after he retired, but stressed it was up to Matfield to prove he still has what it takes to make it.

The supersport.com website reported on Thursday that Matfield and Loftus’ 'liefling' Derick Hougaard are both hard in training to try and make a comeback ahead of the 2014 Super Rugby season.

The story, which has seen mixed reaction by fans on whether the 36-year old Matfield should return to the game, was at the centre of questions posed to Meyer ahead of the Bok side’s departure on their tour of Wales, Scotland and France.

Meyer first said that he would ensure the best players would still play for the Springboks – but admitted he is worried about the lack of talent in the No 5 jersey. Meyer has selected a quartet of four locks for the tour, and will be hoping that Flip van der Merwe and Pieter-Steph du Toit show enough promise to make the jersey their own.

"You probably should speak to the player and his union about him making a comeback, it’s not in my hands," Meyer said when quizzed on a possible return for Matfield.

"I’ve always believed we need quality no 5s in this country, and if you’re good enough, and you’re old enough you can play.

"I’ve also heard the rumours and it will be interesting to see if he will play.

"We need quality youngsters coming through in the five lock position and as a coach he has done a great job in helping guys come through the system as well.

"Only time will tell, but that is the position I’m worried about in South Africa. Pieter-Steph (Du Toit) and Eben (Etzebeth) will grow into great five locks. Flip is now getting there, but it takes time.

"The more guys who can play there, the better it is for South Africa and the best guys will play in the end."

Meyer said it wasn’t for him to say if a player should return, but knowing Matfield like he does, would know that he would take the right decision, and would not return to the game if he didn’t feel he could make it back to the top.

"It’s not for me to say, but I can say he has never stopped training and he has always been an unbelievable athlete," Meyer explained.

"The feedback I get from the Bulls is that he is still doing lineouts and still stealing ball.

"The main thing in Test match rugby is that you have to win all your lineouts and your kickoffs.

"We’ve been good in our lineouts, but our kickoffs have not been good at all.

"It cost us the game against New Zealand and that is one of his strengths.

"Victor is a pro, he will know if he is good enough and if his body has adapted.

"Fitness-wise, he has always been one of the best, he is a freak.

"If he doesn’t take it seriously and can’t play at the highest level, he won’t do it.

"It is up to him to show if he wants to, and he will make the right decision.

"It is in his hands."

The Boks leave on Saturday for the three-Test tour and should they come home unbeaten they would have capped a successful year where their only losses were the two matches against the World Champion All Blacks.


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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

How will the Springboks fare at this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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