End of a great journey for the two

2015-07-23 06:02

THE “bromance” between Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha is set for one last dance when the two will be side by side once again when the Barbarians­ take on Argentina at Twickenham in November.

The match will be the last time the two legendary­ locks take to the field after Matfield announced he will retire after the World Cup, while the big bruising Botha called time on his career after winning the European Cup with Toulon earlier this year.

It was in 2011 that many rugby fans around the world thought they had seen the last of the pair when Matfield decided to retire. However, he has returned to the field, and the two were back in each other’s arms again when the Boks took on the World XV at Newlands last year.

Last week, they were on opposite sides for the first time in 17 years as the Boks once again took on the World XV, with both players leading their teams on the day.

“The idea to play alongside each other in our final game has been planned by the match organisers,” the Newcastle Botha was quoted by MyPlayers.co.za

“That will be the last professional game of my career for any team,” said Botha, who spent many years hurting opponents while his partner Matfield pinched their line-outs.

Unlike Botha, who is touted as a future Bulls head coach, Matfield will go off into the sunset quietly, and spend the rest of his days on his farm, playing with his children.

“I’m looking forward to retirement as I’ll get to spend more time with my family. I’ll miss the matches and camaraderie among friends, but it’s going to be awesome waking up to no rugby emails or programmes lists for training.

“I can wake up the kids, help them get ready for school. The teachers will finally see that my wife is no longer a single mom.”

Even though they were on opposite sides last weekend, Matfield said their families remained close.

“Ahead of the World XV game, our families spent some time at breakfast together. It’s been a great journey we’ve enjoyed being teammates,” he said.

“Bakkies is in a very good space at the moment as his career has come to an end. He’s blessed enough to be set for life after rugby … [he’s] an awesome player, an amazing player and a great family man. I’m very proud of him.”

The two hold the record for most Tests (63) as a lock combination.

With Pieter-Steph du Toit (22) set to join Western Province, perhaps he and Eben Etzebeth­ can build their own legacy as the next great lock combination to take SA rugby into the future

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