Victor Matfield ponders playing return
April 19, 2012
Could legendary Springbok lock Victor Matfield be set for a return to the international stage? © Getty Images
Former South Africa lock Victor Matfield has confirmed that he is considering a sensational return to the international stage.
The 34-year-old called time on his glittering playing career following the Springboks' exit from last year's Rugby World Cup but new coach Heyneke Meyer has tabled the option of Matfield lacing up his boots once again and maybe leading the team in their three-Test series against England in June.
"Heyneke Meyer has asked me to make a comeback to the playing field and it is something I am giving thought to but we are a long way from anything being decided," the former Bulls stalwart told Supersport.com. "At this stage a lot of things have to happen before I make a decision. Obviously when you stop playing and then think of making a comeback there is a lot of red tape that you would then have to go through before making a return to the field. It would be a hard decision for me to make."
Matfield, who harbours an ambition to coach the Boks, currently combines work as the Bulls' lineout consultant with a role as a commentator for SuperSport and claims to have maintained his fitness levels since retiring thanks to cycling. And he left no doubt as to why he was considering a comeback. "If it was not Heyneke asking me I would not even be considering it," he said.
Meyer has only confirmed that intends to tap into the veteran lock's vast experience with Matfield having already taken an active role at a Springboks training camp. "Victor will definitely play a big part in helping with structures and going around the country to help the lineout jumpers in South Africa," Meyer said. "At this stage I'm speaking to every single player out there. I am worried about the crisis in the locks at the moment."
In related news, a total of 45 players from The Bulls and The Sharks have been invited to the second Springbok Planning Camp, which will be held in Pretoria next week. The first - featuring players from the Cheetahs and the Lions - concluded last week.
"We had our first planning camp with the Cheetahs and Lions players and I'm very excited about the enthusiasm showed by the players here," said Meyer. "The mere fact that the players didn't think twice about sacrificing their rest week to come up to Pretoria to plan for the season ahead, says a lot about the psyche of our players here in South Africa and it's something that I'm very happy with. I know we'll have the same vibe next week when the Sharks and Bulls players come together, as well as in Cape Town early in May when we work with the Stormers."
The third and final planning camp will take place in Cape Town with players from The Stormers players from May 1-3.
Players invited to the second Springbok Planning Camp:
Forwards: Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Craig Burden, Jannie du Plessis, Dale Chadwick, Steven Sykes, Jandré Marais, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts, Ryan Kankowski, Lubabalo Mtembu (all Sharks), Dean Greyling, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Werner Kruger, Frik Kirsten, Flip van der Merwe, Juandre Kruger, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Deon Stegmann, CJ Stander, Jacques Potgieter, Dewald Potgieter, Pierre Spies, Arno Botha (all Bulls).
Backs: Charl McLeod, Patrick Lambie, Odwa Ndungane, Sibusiso Sithole, Tim Whitehead, JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo, Louis Ludik, Riaan Viljoen (all Sharks), Francois Hougaard, Jano Vermaak, Morné Steyn, Bjorn Basson, Wynand Olivier, Francois Venter, Johann Sadie, JJ Engelbrecht, Akona Ndungane, Zane Kirchner (all Bulls).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games