Springboks

Victor, Bakkies set for reunion

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Bakkies Botha (Gallo Images)
Bakkies Botha (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - "Blood brothers" Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha could be reunited as the Springbok lock pairing in Test matches this year, the Rapport website indicates.

Botha, 34, recently returned to action for his French club Toulon after missing most of the year with a broken arm. He was a key figure for Toulon when they won the Heineken Cup final at the weekend, beating English club Saracens 23-6 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Since coming out of retirement, the 37-year-old Matfield has proved his worth for the Bulls in Super Rugby this year and was included in Bok coach Heyneke Meyer's training squad for a camp in Durban this week.

Meyer did not include any European-based players in his initial squad but there will be overseas additions when he names his final group for the June Tests this coming Saturday.

And Botha, who formed part of the Bok squad on last year's European tour, is expected to be included.

An injury crisis at lock could mean that Matfield and Botha could find themselves playing together as the Bok lock pairing.

With Pieter-Steph du Toit, Franco van der Merwe and Eben Etzebeth still injured, Meyer must choose between the "Blood brothers", Flip van der Merwe, Lood de Jager and Stephan Lewies.

It is therefore not beyond the realms of possibility that Matfield and Botha could start a Test together and add to the 56 Tests they started as lock pairing, which is a world record.

The Springboks start their year with a game against the World XV at Newlands on June 7, followed by two Tests against Wales (Durban, June 14 and Nelspruit, June 21) and one against Scotland (Port Elizabeth, June 28).


Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha (Gallo Images)

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