Springboks

Meyer behind return: Matfield

2014-06-03 14:21
undefined
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was the influence behind Victor Matfield's return to rugby, the player said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"After a while, when Heyneke took over as the Bok coach, he phoned me to ask me about making a comeback," Matfield said.

"I was very tempted because coach Heyneke and I have worked closely together for many years. We understand each other, and he was really the guy who brought me through and developed my career.

"I thought that it would be great to play for the Boks under coach Heyneke."

Matfield will lead the Springboks in an interim capacity in the Incoming Series matches against Wales and Scotland this month in the absence of the injured Jean de Villiers.

After a two-year lay-off, he knew he would have to work much harder as a 37-year-old, he said.

"There was the great disappointment of losing at the last World Cup and even failing to make the semi-finals."

"The next World Cup was also a big motivation for me to come back. If I did not think I could play in another World Cup, and be part of a winning team, I would not be playing again."

Meyer hailed Matfield as one of the best Springbok captains of all time. "I think it's a huge honour to represent your country but it's also a huge responsibility to captain the national team," Meyer said on Tuesday.

"I always believed that the Victor was one of the best captains of South Africa."

The Springbok coach said he had met with captaincy candidates Matfield, Bismarck du Plessis and Fourie du Preez, to find out how they felt about shouldering the responsibility before he made a final decision.

"Victor has done it before and did it with distinction," said Meyer.

"It would have been stupid not to stick with a guy who has done it before.

"I have a lot of confidence in the man. He'll be great because his appointment is also good for the development of the team. He is a true professional."

Matfield will captain the side for the first time since his return to rugby in Saturday's match against a star-studded World XV at Newlands, Cape Town, kicking off at 5pm.

The Bulls lock who retired from international rugby in 2011 is a veteran of 110 Tests, and also captained the national side previously in 17 Tests.

Matfield said he enjoyed the captaincy role but also had a few concerns.

"Initially I thought it was a good idea but I must admit that afterwards I asked myself if I'd made the right decision," Matfield said.

"I know there will be lots of pressure (from fans and media) and lots of (critical) opinion about me as Springbok captain.

"I was nervous when I made a comeback and I enjoyed captaining the Bulls.

"In the Bok team, we have about six guys who can help me make decisions and I'll back them."

 

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
34 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Fixtures
Saturday, 04 July 2020
South Africa v Scotland, Cape Town 17:05
Saturday, 11 July 2020
South Africa v Scotland, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:05
Saturday, 18 July 2020
South Africa v Georgia, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 17:05
Saturday, 08 August 2020
South Africa v Argentina, Emirates Airline Park 14:00
Saturday, 15 August 2020
Argentina v South Africa, Estadio Bicentenario 21:45
Saturday, 29 August 2020
Australia v South Africa, Optus Stadium 14:00
Vote

Debate rages! Who is the greatest ever Springbok hooker ... John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis or someone else perhaps?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2019/20 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.