Matfield to finish career in England

London - Springbok legend Victor Matfield will join English Premiership side Northampton Saints after the Rugby World Cup, the club announced on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old - the Springboks all-time most capped player with 123 Tests under his belt since making his debut in 2001 - is widely regarded as one of the greatest second rows to have played the game and is set to captain his country in what will be his fourth World Cup.

He was an integral member of the 2007 World Cup-winning side and was man of the match in the 15-6 victory over England in the final that was played at the Stade de France in Paris.

Matfield, who has previous experience of playing in European rugby having turned out for French giants Toulon for a brief spell when they were in the second tier, won three Super Rugby crowns as skipper of the Bulls.

"It is an honour for me to join the Northampton Saints," said Matfield, who retired from international rugby in 2011 only to return last year.

"Seven years ago Saints very nearly became my rugby home and I feel privileged to be given another opportunity to join the club.

"I join Saints to make the best contribution I possibly can and I have a genuine desire to hopefully play an instrumental role in a team effort, with the aim of lifting silverware in both the Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup.

"For now I will focus only on the Springboks' campaign to win the Rugby World Cup but I am very excited about the journey with Saints from November onwards," added Matfield who will join his new club after the World Cup campaign is over for South Africa.

The tournament runs from September 18 to October 31.

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder said that Matfield, who also won three domestic Currie Cups and two Tri-Nations titles, still had much to contribute to the game despite his age.

"Victor is one of the outstanding forwards in world rugby," said Mallinder.

"He has been at the top of the game for well over a decade now and his selection by South Africa for a fourth consecutive World Cup shows that he remains a force to be reckoned with.

"We're very much looking forward to Victor joining up with the squad and believe he has a lot to offer the club, not only on the field, but also off it in terms of his leadership qualities and experience."

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