Matfield happy with any RWC role

2015-10-21 18:59
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)

Guildford - South Africa great Victor Matfield is ready to help out in any way he can as the Springboks go in search of a third Rugby World Cup title.

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The 38-year-old lock, capped 125 times, has been named on the bench for Saturday's semi-final against defending champions New Zealand after missing the Springboks' last three games with a hamstring injury.

In his absence, the youthful duo of Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth have established themselves as a formidable second-row pairing.

But 2007 World Cup-winner Matfield, who came out of retirement last year, had no complaints about his bench role.

"I came back to be at the World Cup," he said after Wednesday's team announcement.

"I believe this is a team that can win the World Cup and I want to be part of it.

"I also said I don't know what my role will be."

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, who also persuaded scrumhalf Fourie du Preez - the match-winner in the quarter-final with Wales - to come out of test retirement, was delighted to have Matfield on board.

"When I spoke to Victor to come back, he said wherever we need him... he just wanted to be part of something special," said Meyer.

"It just shows the character of the team and the character of the man.

"He said from day one that he's there to serve and that whatever the team needs... if he's there to groom the youngsters to help them, or if we need him as an impact... he was happy with that.

"He's an unbelievable servant of South African and Springbok rugby. I'm proud to have a guy like that."

Matfield could, however, start against the All Blacks at Twickenham this weekend if De Jager fails a fitness test on Friday on a pulled tendon in his foot, which he suffered against Wales.

"I'll be ready to start if I have to - though I don't think I could go 80 minutes because of the hamstring," said Matfield.

New Zealand thrashed an out of sorts France 62-13 in their quarter-final, but Matfield said the recent history of All Blacks-Springboks matches would ensure a far closer contest.

"Every time it's within five or six points with two or three minutes to go," he said.

"It's all about composure, doing the right things and also to have guys there who can add to your work-rate or put pressure on the other team.

"The last 10 or 15 minutes will be crucial on Saturday. I'm 100 percent sure of that."

Matfield, who ruled out continuing his Test career beyond the World Cup by saying "hopefully, I've got two more games for the Boks," said it was important the team didn't get caught up in complex tactical plans ahead of Saturday's showdown.

"Sometimes we over-think this game," the lock said.

"It is an easy game, go out there, play your heart out and give it your all. Hopefully at the end, that's good enough."

Saturday's clash at Twickenham is scheduled for 17:00 (SA time).


South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (captain), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein

New Zealand:


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