Victor Matfield’s proposed return to the Springbok side has been backed by his former coach Jake White, who believes the legendary lock could lead the South African side through their upcoming series against England. Matfield retired from all forms of the game at the end of the World Cup, however, injury to a number of key players could see the 34-year old make a return to the game.
The main issue for head coach Heyneke Meyer is that he is struggling to find a man to lead the side through the three-Test series against the English as captain. Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers and Juan Smith all look set to miss this summer’s internationals, leaving the Springboks without a clear option for the role of captain.
Burger’s knee injury is still causing the flanker problems and it remains unclear as to when the Stormers star will be able to return to training. De Villiers picked up a nasty hand injury last month, with it looking likely that surgery will be required, ruling him out of action for at least two months. Juan Smith’s Achilles injury is in danger of not only ruling him out of action for the next few months, but also possibly forcing the flanker to retire from the game.
The loss of the influential trio will only add to the call for Matfield to get himself back fit in time for the arrival of England. World Cup winning coach White is one of those who believes the second-row’s return could be what the Springboks need at the moment in time.
“I think Heyneke knows that he has to find someone who has experience, and Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers are injured, and Juan Smith, who everyone thought would be one of the leaders, is also out.”
“So if it means Victor has to come out of retirement and help SA, (it could be beneficial because) he has been there and he has been a fantastic ambassador for South African rugby. Maybe having Victor around for stability is probably the right decision for Heyneke.”