Super Rugby

Matfield lauds Van Graan, recalls 2010 Soweto triumph

Barend van Graan (Gallo Images)
Barend van Graan (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok and Bulls lock Victor Matfield has paid tribute to the Pretoria franchise’s outgoing CEO Barend van Graan.

Van Graan is stepping down at the end of the month and according to Netwerk24 there was a function held for him in Pretoria on Wednesday night.

Matfield spoke at the function and lauded Van Graan for his contribution to Bulls rugby.

The former Bulls skipper fondly recalled the 2010 Super Rugby triumph at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

The Bulls had to play their semi-final and final there because Loftus Versfeld was occupied during the Soccer World Cup hosted in the country at the time.

"At the time, many people said it was madness and that the die-hard Loftus fans would never go to Soweto. But uncle Barend was brilliant in putting a positive spin to it," Matfield said.

The Bulls beat the Crusaders 39-24 in the semi-finals, before outclassing the Stormers 25-17 in the final.

"On our way to the field we saw again what rugby could mean for our country... It was unbelievable to see Afrikaners braaiing and socialising with the people there in yards. Until this day it remains the two best weeks of my career. Thanks, uncle Barend.”

Van Graan, who was involved with the Bulls for 35 years, will be replaced by Alfonso Meyer.

Meyer spent 10 years between 1992 to 2002 as a Managing Partner at PwC Consulting Services, after which he became the Managing Director of IBM Business Consulting Services. He currently also serves as a Non-Executive director at First Rand Group.

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