Full name Victor Matfield
Born May 11, 1977, Pietersburg
Current age 36 years 213 days
Major teams Barbarians, Blue Bulls, Bulls, South Africa
Height 6 ft 7 in
Weight 238 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||2003-2011||14||13||1||0||0||0||0||0||11||3||0||78.57|
|The Rugby Championship||2001-2011||44||43||1||15||3||0||0||0||18||25||1||42.04|
|Test debut||South Africa v Italy at Port Elizabeth, Jun 30, 2001 match details|
|Last Test||Australia v South Africa at Wellington, Oct 9, 2011 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Widely considered to be the best lock in the world, Matfield has been a key figure for South Africa since making his international debut as a replacement against Italy in 2001 and racked up a century of appearances for the Springboks against Australia in 2010.
Famed for his meticulous pre-match preparation and regarded as a natural leader, he is an athletic performer in the lineout and his speed also makes him a threat in the loose. A South Africa U21 international in 1997 and 1998, he was called into the Springboks squad by Harry Viljoen and made his first start against New Zealand in the 2001 Tri-Nations.
He went on to make a total of eight appearances in 2001 and scored his first Test try against Italy on the end of year tour to Europe. Matfield retained his place in the squad with the arrival of Rudolf Straeuli as coach and started alongside long-term partner Bakkies Botha in the second row for the first time against New Zealand in the 2003 Tri-Nations.
Unsurprisingly Matfield was included in the squad for the 2003 Rugby World Cup - featuring in four games including the quarter-final exit at the hands of New Zealand. His strengths were also recognised by Jake White who took charge of the Springboks in 2004. Matfield played a key role in the Springboks' revival under White that saw the Boks capture the 2004 Tri-Nations crown - their first since 1998.
His eleven performances for the Springboks that year saw him shortlisted for the IRB Player of the Year award.
Matfield achieved another career milestone in 2007 when he became the 52nd Springbok captain - leading the team against the All Blacks in their Tri-Nations clash Durban. He would go on to be a cornerstone of South Africa's success at the 2007 Rugby World Cup and was many people's player of the tournament. He featured in all seven games and was named Man of the Match following an outstanding performance in the Springboks' 15-6 final victory over England.
With the arrival of new coach Peter De Villiers in 2008, Matfield retained his spot in the Springboks' ranks for that year's incoming tours and Tri-Nations. And following an injury to regular skipper John Smit he was handed the captaincy once again. In his first game after taking over the captaincy he led the side to a memorable 30-28 victory over New Zealand
The historic victory ended New Zealand's five-year unbeaten record on home soil and was South Africa's first-ever win at Carsisbrook, and Matfield watched the last-ten minutes from the sin-bin.
Matfield started all three Tests against the British & Irish Lions in 2009 and his dominance in the lineout was a key factor in the Springboks' 2-1 series victory and he was also at the heart of the Tri-Nations glory - only their third success in the battle for southern hemisphere supremacy.
In 2010, Matfield led his country for the 11th time against Italy in Witbank with Smit once again sidelined through injury and he followed his captain into the records books as the third South African to notch 100 Test appearances against Australia in that year's Tri-Nations. On the Springboks' November tour he was entrusted with the captaincy once again following surgery to Smit and became their most-capped player by winning his 103rd cap - marking the occasion with a try against Wales in Cardiff.
Matfield missed the 2011 Tri-Nations through injury but returned for the Springboks World Cup campaign in New Zealand. South Africa were knocked out at the quarter-finals stage by Australia and Matfield duly retired from all forms of the game having won 110 caps for the Springboks.
Matfield played his age-group rugby for the Blue Bulls but switched to Griqualand West in 1999 and went on to represent the Cats in the Super 12. But he returned to the Blue Bulls in 2001 and lined up for the Bulls in the Super 12.
He tasted Currie Cup success with the Blue Bulls in 2002 and 2004 but he eclipsed these achievements by leading the Bulls to the Super 14 crown in 2007 - upsetting South African rivals the Sharks in a dramatic finale.
Following the 2007 Rugby World Cup he opted for a lucrative move to French D2 club Toulon but after helping them to promotion to France's top flight he signed a deal to return to South Africa - once again teaming up with the Blue Bulls.
His return coincided with the side's second Super 14 crown in 2009 - when they crushed the Chiefs in the season finale - and Matfield got his hands on the silverware again the following year when his side proved too strong for the Stormers.