Williams: Matfield still good enough

Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Ali Williams played the last of his 77 Test matches for the All Blacks in 2012, but he has been soldiering on with Toulon in France ever since. 

But now, like his partner in crime at the French club Bakkies Botha, his playing days are coming to an end. 

Before then, though, there is the small matter of Saturday's clash against the Springboks at Newlands. Williams (34) is likely to partner Botha, 35, as their careers wind down, but in the Bok setup Victor Matfield (38) is preparing for a remarkable fourth World Cup. 

"He's older than me and Bakkies put together," Williams joked in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"He's still one of the best locks in the world ... we all know what a champion is and what a world class athlete is and he's proving that he can still be there and still be one of the best.

"Someone like Victor offers so much off the field as well as on the field. On the field is he looking to hide? No, I don't think so."

Williams also paid tribute to Botha, speaking volumes of the type of man he was outside of rugby. 

"A guy that you play against for so long and have rivalries with and then you become great mates," said Williams of Botha. 

"He's a great man and a completely different character from what people see on the field and that's the beauty of it."

Williams said that while Matfield was giving another World Cup a go, there was no shame in Botha's decision not to.

"Rugby is mental. It's physical, but it's also mental. Mentally if you're not there and you don't want to go to that dark hole, that place that isn't so friendly, then there's no point being out there," said Williams.

"Victor obviously wants to do it and he's got a challenge, which is great, but Bakkies and myself ... that's not what pleases us anymore."

Saturday's match kicks off at 17:00. 

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