Matfield appointed Springbok captain

June 3, 2014
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Incoming Tour: Springbok training session and media session
Victor Matfield will captain the Springboks in the Castle Lager Incoming Series this month in the absence of the injured Jean de Villiers – and he will lead them out for the first time since his return to rugby in Saturday’s match against a star-studded World XV, sponsored by Samsung, at Newlands (kick off 17h00).Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer made the announcement in Cape Town on Tuesday. Matfield, who has played 110 Tests for South Africa, last captained the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011.

“Victor’s appointment as interim captain is something I thought long and hard about and it wasn’t an easy decision to make,” said Meyer.

“The three candidates we considered, Victor, Bismarck du Plessis and Fourie du Preez, were all very strong options.

“We’re in a fortunate situation that we have a strong leadership group in the current squad, which includes Victor, Bismarck, Fourie, Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw.

“It’s only a short-term appointment as Jean will take over as captain again once he’s recovered from his injury. Victor was a logical option – he knows the pressure associated with being Springbok captain as he’s been there before and he has vast captaincy experience at all levels of the game.

“I also firmly believe Bismarck has improved a lot in this role with the Cell C Sharks and I know he can still lead the Springboks. He’s 100% supportive of Victor and he will remain one of our vice-captains for the season.

“Victor is someone who has the respect of all the players in our squad, as well as world-wide in rugby. He’s achieved a lot and has always put the team’s interests first, while most of the players in our squad have already played under him.”

Matfield, who has captained the Springboks in 17 Tests earlier in career, said he is very grateful for the trust shown in him by the national coach.

“I’m here to serve the team and would like to make a positive contribution,” said Matfield.

“When I decided to return to playing rugby, my aim was to be good enough to make the Springbok team. I never dreamt of leading the team again and it’s a massive honour.

“The coach has built a strong core of leaders and I’m fortunate to have guys such as Bismarck, Fourie, Bryan, Duane, Schalk, Flip and Francois alongside me. And we’ll have Jean and Adriaan Strauss back with the team soon, which will add to the depth of leadership.”

Matfield will captain the Springboks in their four matches in June. The vice-captains will be Du Plessis and Du Preez.

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19 Comments

  1. avatar Morné says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Logical choice really.

  2. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 9:08 am

    @Morné: Yip he was John understudy as well

  3. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Yeah pretty logical in light of lock injuries (for 60 minutes)…

    Although I do prefer all three of Victor, Bismark and FDP playing their own game without the added distraction of captaincy… Victor the lesser ‘evil’ of the three (for a lack of better word)….

    Now to see the make-up of the rest of the team in their first game which if I’m not correct doesn’t cap players anyways?

  4. avatar Ollie says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 11:09 am

    @bryce_in_oz: Although this would have been a good training ground for Bismark to learn in

  5. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 11:58 am

    @Ollie:

    He’ll more than likely get 1/3 of a game anyways at captain…

    Going to be interesting to see the Bok lock pairing (and bench)…

  6. avatar Ollie says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    @bryce_in_oz:

    It’s going to be an interesting season, point. :lol:

  7. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    @Ollie:

    Priority is beating the AB’s and not slipping against a decent looking Wallaby squad… ie winning the Rugby Championship… imo over-playing certain players (like the Bok front-row) in the June period (yet still not losing) is going to be the balancing for HM and his charges…

  8. avatar DavidS says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    @Ollie:

    It’s going to be an awful season…like Jake’s 2006…

    The question is can HM survive and not get replaced because of hysterical pressure on SARU from stupid media hacks in Cape Town

  9. avatar Boertjie says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    @bryce_in_oz:

    No caps for the game at Newlands.
    Cape is its miserable self, but we could
    have clear skies and dry weather come Saturday.

  10. avatar Ollie says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    @DavidS:

    I’m not so sure about that, I’ve got a feeling that it should be a good one. Just as long as we humble the Pom’s at Twickers, because I hope to be there live

  11. avatar Mug Punters Organisation of South Africa says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Wow he plays on, must say I am impressed. He has improved so much the very small break was good. Too conservative but shrewd so awesome. He would want to do well this year never know when its your last game.
    And Brits jees no some peeps who should be happy

  12. avatar Cheetah Glory says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Fact is we are still in the same cycle that started in 2004, which is not in itself a bad thing. It shows we learnt to value experience.

    As long as there is some long term planning in SARU because a new cycle is bound to start soon when none of this generation of players are around anymore.

    For example if Dawie does well with under 20′s – will it not make sense to have him become Bok coach after 2015?

  13. avatar Cheetah Glory says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Give him job already. Let him work on a team of assistants. Have scouts monitor a group of 200 or so players, work on a captain or 3 to be groomed etc.

    Or we will just crisis manage and ‘build’ again for years on end.

  14. avatar Morné says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    @Cheetah Glory:

    Interesting thought on ‘cycles’. The most successful EPL coach in history, Alex Ferguson, has been studied extensively in this regard.

  15. avatar Morné says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Awesome article.

    http://www.supersport.com/rugby/springboks/news/140603/Mentor_versus_prodigy_mate_against_mate

  16. avatar Cheetah Glory says:
    June 4th, 2014 at 12:19 am

    @Morné:

    yes that was a pleasant read. great to hear both mean speak their minds and not just give sound bytes.

  17. avatar Cheetah Glory says:
    June 4th, 2014 at 12:28 am

    @Morné:

    Fergie steered United through some great cycles. He kept some players for extended periods but those were mostly the non-ego players like Scholes and Giggs. He was very swift to move on from players that seemingly got too big for the team.

    Ditto Wenger.

    What bugs me about the rugby however is that there are too many seniors who are still not only the best in their position but who have been allowed to pick up all this experience in a Bok shirt while few other have managed to step up.

    FdP
    Bakkies
    Matfield
    Burger
    Steyn
    Pienaar
    Tina
    Beast
    Jannie
    Jean
    Habana
    Fourie

    Thats 12 guys who if fit will probably start for the Boks almost 8 years after their cycle started.

    Its not their fault and testament to the generation they were part of – but wold they have been as experienced and professional if they were not backed during the kak times or if they were not afforded the space to fail (2006 being a key example)?

    Then ask yourself if we are affording another core group of players this opportunity, and the simple answer is no.

    This means 12 players will at some stage need to be given a shit load of experience and be afforded the space to learn by losing.

    For me this cycle started purely because White was willing to clean house and start with a new batch. Yes he had Percy and Os and Snyman there to steer the ship, but thats 3 guys – not 12.

  18. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    June 4th, 2014 at 2:23 am

    @Cheetah Glory:

    Jake White did not simply come in and ‘clean house’ and ‘start with a clean batch’…

    John Smit, Faan Rautenbach, Victor Matfield, Danie Roussouw, Bakkies Botha, Quinton Davids, Juan Smith, Pedrie Wannenburg, Schalk Burger, Joe Van Niekerk, De Wet Barry, Bolla Conradie, Jaco VD Weshuizen, Marius Joubert, Jacque Fourie, Breyton Paulse, Brent Russell had all been capped under Straueli and formed the basis of JW’s 2004 squad…

    To that bunch he added some clearly political pressured appointments and some youngsters he had identified as being the ‘new generation’ eg FDP taking the reigns from the previous legend Joost… and ‘then’ he added the likes of Percy, Os, Albert VDB, AJ Venter for some much needed experience… and then he changed that entire squads mentality from StaalDraad days… not too mention added more youngsters to the mix to ensure the squad evolved heading through his cycle…

    So in summation no he most certainly did not ‘clean house’…

    Back to the Fergie analogy… which Bok coach has been permitted more than one term despite top results?

  19. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    June 4th, 2014 at 2:33 am

    At least half that list of 12 you posted are STILL the best in their position not only in the country… but one of the best in the world currently…

    However neither of them averaged more than half the tests from last season… so plenty of ‘next generation’ players have been exposed to test rugby under HM’s reign and ensure the cycle continues (so far)…

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