Cape Town - Former Springbok lock Krynauw Otto says fans and pundits should stop complaining about the performances of Victor Matfield.
The 38-year-old lock has copped criticism in some quarters for his efforts for the Bulls in this year’s Super Rugby competition.
However Otto, who played 38 Tests for the Springboks between 1995 and 2000, believes Matfield will be of immense importance for the Boks at the Rugby World Cup in England and Wales later this year.
“The lock position is the biggest headache before the Boks head for Great Britain,” Otto told Netwerk24.
“It is actually ironic to see experts not include him in their ‘Springbok teams’. If he wasn’t there, the team would have struggled big time. I can’t see him being left out of the starting team.”
Otto says success at a World Cup depends on how teams respond under pressure in certain situations - something an experienced campaigner like Matfield would give the team.
“It’s small, short moments during a match that are key. A guy like Victor has experienced these moments before. If he’s still setting high standards as a player, why wouldn’t you pick him?”
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer earlier this week also defended Matfield.
“Victor often receives unfair criticism. But he still wins the majority of his lineouts and often steals his opponents’ ball in the lineouts. People forget about his high work ethic. He cleans out at the rucks and his willingness to make tackles is still there,” said Meyer.