Matfield could lead Springboks

2012-04-20 07:45

Rumours that Springbok legend Victor Matfield will come out of retirement and lead his nation in a three-Test June home series against England are refusing to go away.

Initially dismissed as an April Fools joke orchestrated by the local media, a belief that the 34-year-old World Cup winner could don the green and gold again after retiring in October gathered strength this week.

Injuries to flankers Schalk Burger and Juan Smith – considered the main candidates to succeed retired hooker John Smit as skipper – have complicated the captaincy issue with the first Test less than two months away.

The expected return of Burger for the ongoing DHL Stormers Super Rugby tour of Australasia failed to materialise after he was injured on the opening weekend of the season and Smith may be sidelined until next year.

“New Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer 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,” stressed Matfield in a TV interview.

“If it were not Heyneke asking me, I would not even be considering it,” added the 110-cap warrior, whose dream of a second World Cup winners medal was dashed last October by a narrow last-eight loss to Australia in Wellington, New Zealand.

Matfield has been working as a consultant with the Bulls, a team he won three Super 14 winners medals with, and as a touchline analyst for Johannesburg-based pay TV channel SuperSport.

Meyer heightened speculation over the Springbok icon yesterday after a four-day Pretoria planning camp with selected players from the MTN Lions and Toyota Cheetahs Super Rugby squads.

“The captain for the England Test series will not necessarily be the same one for the rest of the season,” he said referring to six southern hemisphere championship games and a three-Test end-of-season tour to the UK.

“I will probably announce the captain a week before the first Test against England and there are a lot of great leaders to choose from,” added the coach who succeeded controversial Peter de Villiers after last year’s World Cup.

However, with Keegan Daniel (Sharks), Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs) and Josh Strauss (Lions) unlikely starters against England and Burger injured, that leaves only eighthman Pierre Spies (Bulls) among the Super Rugby skippers.

Meyer said first-choice outside centre Jaque Fourie would not be available for Springbok selection while serving a two-year contract with Japanese outfit Kobe Steelers.

Butch James, flyhalf when the Springboks defeated England in the 2003 World Cup final at Stade de France, in France, announced his retirement from Test rugby this week after a 42-cap career.

South Africa host England on June 9 at Kings Park in Durban, Ellis Park in Johannesburg (June 16) and Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth (June 23). 

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The Leo moon adds an element of drama and entertainment. A significant person that you may consult or confide in may play more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.