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Victor Matfield

Brussow, Schalla, Matfield back in Bok fold

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World champion Springboks Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger as well as two former Blitzbok stars, Cornal Hendricks and S’bura Sithole, are included in a 36-man squad to attend a national training camp in Durban from 25 to 28 May, the South African Rugby Union announced on Monday.

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Cell C Sharks back Sithole and Hendricks, the SA Sevens Player of the Year in 2013, are two of eight uncapped players in the squad. The others are the Toyota Cheetahs duo of Lood de Jager (lock) and Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward); Marcel van der Merwe (prop) and Jacques du Plessis (flank/lock) of the Vodacom Bulls; Marnitz Boshoff (flyhalf) of the Lions and the DHL Stormers’ Damian De Allende (centre/wing).

They will join Matfield, Burger and Toyota Cheetahs flanker Heinrich Brüssow – who are back in the national set up for the first time since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011 – in a training squad that is missing a number of players due to injury.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he was happy with the form of a number of the country’s top players and the uncapped players who have grabbed their chance this season, as well as the re-appearance from retirement and long-term injury of Matfield and Burger.

“Victor and Schalk have been out of rugby for a long time. They’ve really been in great form recently and the fact that they have not been with the Boks for more than two years, has made them hungry for Test rugby yet again,” said Meyer.

“It’s great to welcome them back into the Springbok fold and I know both of them can still add a lot of value to the team with the Rugby World Cup in 2015 looming.

“I’m also looking forward to working with Heinrich for the first time. He’s been playing very well for the Toyota Cheetahs since returning from injury and brings a lot of experience.

“However, the message to every player in this training squad is clear – everyone must accelerate in each area from the first moment we are together as a team and that inclusion in this squad is no guarantee of selection.”

Meyer said that injuries had been a concern but they had allowed other players to press their claims. A number of players in the squad are still nursing niggles or recently returned from long-term injuries.

“It looks like most of the guys are improving weekly and a few new players have put up their hands, which is good to see with the first match of the season, against the World XV in Cape Town, only a few weeks away.” said Meyer.

“It’s also very encouraging to see a bunch of new players emerging from Vodacom Super Rugby. This camp will provide us with a great opportunity to work with these players before the squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series is finalised. I am looking forward to work with these players for the first time.

“This is a very big year for us and the players know they will have to step up a gear, be sharp and focused from the moment we get going in Durban. We have 14 very challenging matches ahead in 2014 and it’s imperative that we build on what was a good season last year.

“It’s important that we start building continuity because there are just 18 matches left until the Rugby World Cup starts. But it’s just as important to recognise continuous good form. We also have a number of players struggling with injury niggles or returning from injury which we have to assess.”

Players based in France, England and Ireland were not considered for this camp as most of them are still playing for their respective clubs.

However, the experienced Fourie du Preez, who played for the Springboks in 2013, has been invited to the camp in Durban as he is available for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Wales and Scotland as well as against the Samsung-sponsored World XV.

The players invited to the training camp will assemble in Durban on Sunday morning and will return to their franchises on Wednesday morning.

“We have a good working relationship with our local franchises and we have to thank them, as well as Suntory in Japan, for allowing their players to attend this camp,” said Meyer.

Players who were involved with the Springboks last year, but were not considered for selection because of medium to long-term injuries, are Scarra Ntubeni (foot), Chiliboy Ralepelle (knee), Frik Kirsten (neck), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Franco van der Merwe (ankle), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep), Louis Schreuder (hand), Pat Lambie (bicep), Gio Aplon (elbow) and Jaque Fourie, who could potentially miss the entire Test season because of an ankle injury.

The 36-man Springbok training squad is:

Forwards (20): Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Toyota Cheetahs), Marcel van der Merwe (Vodacom Bulls)*, Jannie du Plessis (Cell C Sharks), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Coenie Oosthuizen (Toyota Cheetahs), Bismarck du Plessis (Cell C Sharks), Adriaan Strauss (Toyota Cheetahs), Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), Lood de Jager (Toyota Cheetahs)*, Victor Matfield (Vodacom Bulls), Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Bulls), Heinrich Brüssow (Toyota Cheetahs), Marcell Coetzee (Cell C Sharks), Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), Willem Alberts (Cell C Sharks), Jacques du Plessis (Vodacom Bulls)*, Teboho Mohoje (Toyota Cheetahs)*, Duane Vermeulen (DHL Stormers), Schalk Burger (DHL Stormers).

Backs (16): Fourie du Preez (Suntory, Japan), Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Bulls), Johan Goosen (Toyota Cheetahs), Marnitz Boshoff (Lions)*, Jean de Villiers (DHL Stormers), Damian De Allende (DHL Stormers)*, Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Bulls), Juan de Jongh (DHL Stormers), JJ Engelbrecht (Vodacom Bulls), S’bura Sithole (Cell C Sharks)*, Frans Steyn (Cell C Sharks), Lwazi Mvovo (Cell C Sharks), Bjorn Basson (Vodacom Bulls), JP Pietersen (Cell C Sharks), Cornal Hendricks (Toyota Cheetahs)*, Willie le Roux (Toyota Cheetahs).

 

* – Uncapped at Test level

Matfield, Liefling appointed on Bulls coaching staff

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The Vodacom Bulls on Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Victor Matfield as their new Forwards and Attack Coach for the 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby season, while also naming Derick Hougaard as a skills and kicking coach and Handrè Pollard as part of their extended playing squad for the new season.

Still on target

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It is easy to criticize and say what Meyer is not getting right at the moment, but has anyone sat back to consider what he is being quite successful in doing in only 7 tests?

Building bridges

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Where Meyer is now more confident in including a number of youngsters for the upcoming test series against England, his most important decision remains who he will select as skipper.

Meyer to bring back more than just Vic

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With no time to prepare for England, new Bok coach Heyneke Meyer may bring back a few more players than just Victor Matfield.

Meyer wants Matfield as captain

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SA rugby will today announce a number of appointments within its organization, but none more important than Heyneke Meyer’s coaching team.

Matfield joins Bulls as coach, consultant

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Former Springboks and Vodacom Bulls legend Victor Matfield will join the Vodacom Bulls on a consultancy basis for the 2012 Super Rugby season.

Farewell, legends…

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The South African Rugby Union paid tribute to Springbok captain John Smit and vice-captain Victor Matfield today, following their retirement from international rugby.

A tribute to Bok warriors

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I had to re-post this article here because as I read it, I wondered why no respected SA journalist could come up with a fitting tribute like this.

Victor was the difference

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The captaincy of Victor Matfield was a crucial factor in the Bulls’ Super Rugby victory over the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday, coach Frans Ludeke believes.

Smit boosts confidence

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News24 columnist, Gary Boshoff, believes the Springboks will go to the World Cup with confidence given the announcement as Smit and Matfield as the leaders of the squad.

Smit remains captain

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John Smit, the most capped Test captain in history, was on Monday confirmed as Springbok captain for the 2011 international season.

Bulls are back

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Bulls captain Victor Matfield said that he would sleep much easier than the previous time his team enjoyed a week off during the Super Rugby competition.

P.Divvy is a worried man

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Adnaan Mohamed caught up with Springbok coach Peter de Villiers a couple of days before he names his first training group.

Victor wants to crash the party

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Decorated skipper Victor Matfield is urging the revamped Bulls to turn party-crashers tomorrow night so his barren streak at Suncorp Stadium ends before retirement.

Jim Tucker writes in The Couriermail that this feature clash against the Reds will be the South African World Cup champion’s final outing in Brisbane and never has he needed to lead the way more.

The Bulls are riding an indifferent 4-3 win-loss record into this match and have made several changes to re-energise the defence of their Super Rugby title.

“We know Brisbane is always a tough place to win and that we are under pressure,” the 105-Test lineout king said.

“I have won only once here (in 2004 at Ballymore) with the Bulls or Springboks but this is a good weekend to improve that.”

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is wary of just that motivation and spark of fresh enthusiasm within the Bulls.

McKenzie has made just a single change to the starting side, reinstating Wallaby Saia Faingaa for last-start standout James Hanson.

“James is a player on the rise but Saia is an experienced Wallaby who has been in good form,” McKenzie said.

“We’re lucky to have two impact players doing well for us because both are integral at different stages of the match.”

Flanker Beau Robinson was rested from Wednesday’s training session because of a cold but was back with squad mates yesterday.

Mike Harris has retained his place in the centres with McKenzie again talking up the variety he offers as a second playmaker. It was a largely invisible role to many because flyhalf Quade Cooper ran the show in Cape Town during last weekend’s win over the Stormers.

Versatile back Ben Lucas has been returned to the bench after missing the two-game South African tour with a groin injury.

The presence of Will Chambers on the bench is another positive pointer that he is ready to be re-injected. He played a handful of minutes in Cape Town but he offers the best balance to the backline if he can be given time at outside centre.

Reds team (from fullback): Luke Morahan, Rod Davies, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Beau Robinson, Radike Samo, James Horwill (c), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, Ben Daley.

Reserves: James Hanson, Greg Holmes, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Liam Gill, Leroy Houston, Ben Lucas, Will Chambers.

More than just a legend

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Many rugby players will go down in history as legends, very few will be classed as a genius.

Leading without example

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Springbok rugby and South African rugby in general is coming to the end of an era, and it might be time to think about what the future holds.

Statistically speaking

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Statistics are like a lamppost to a drunk man. It does not serve to illuminate but rather, to keep him upright.

Smit must do the honourable thing

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Amidst the vigorous debate surrounding head coach Peter de Villiers and his ticket – or not – to the World Cup, people seem to have rather tiptoed around another complex issue: is it really so clear-cut that John Smit will reassume the team leadership reins from stand-in Victor Matfield?

Broken Matfield makes emphatic statement

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Victor Matfield did not think anyone was watching but, coughing at the side of the interview room an hour after leading the Springboks to a thunderous victory, the captain’s warrior face crumpled into grimaces of agony.

Can Vic take the leadership role?

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When I was a rough and ready flanker for the mighty eighths at Dale College, I played for a teacher whose biology classes I used as an opportunity to catch up on sleep.

Latest news from Bok camp

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There is not a lot of good news coming from the Bok camp ahead of their test against Scotland.

Boks want redemption

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Not only are the Springboks ready to win the Grand Slam with victories over Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England, but they also want to win back the confidence of the South African rugby public.

Matfield error cost Blue Bulls

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Blue Bulls captain Victor Matfield definitely made an error of judgement in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Sharks, two former Springboks believe.

Matfield back to lead Blue Bulls

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Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke had no hesitation in naming all his available Springboks in the starting line up of the Blue Bulls team to play Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday in the final pool game of Absa’s Currie Cup competition.

Big Vic one of the greatest of all time

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Springbok captain John Smit has made a passionate plea to fans and the people of Pretoria to jam-pack Loftus Versfeld for Saturday’s Tri-Nations encounter between the Boks and Australia to honour rugby great Victor Matfield.

Victor to captain Boks against Wallabies?

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Earlier today we mentioned that there might be some revelations from within the Bok camp, unfortunately the press conference delivered very little but the biggest surprise might only come when the team is named to take on the Wallabies.

Matfield questions All Black tactics

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The psychological war of words has started as Victor Matfield accused the All Blacks of some dodgy tactics ahead of the Soweto Showdown.

Matfield the true Bok leader

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For the best part of Victor Matfield’s playing career, opponents have attempted to find some way of stopping him – and for the most part they’ve failed, according Wallabies forward Dean Mumm.

Dwyer slams Boks

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John is too slow, Victor is past it, Ricky is rubbish, Morne is average, Meisiekind is anonymous and Kirchner is not of international class.  These are the frank views Australian World Cup winning coach Bob Dwyer gave of the Springboks.

Have the current Boks hit the ceiling?

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Two recent performances from the Springboks have raised some serious questions about the team that should take us to World Cup success next year, and whether the current crop has hit the ceiling, or still has a lot to offer Bok rugby.  We asked Dr. Ross Tucker, an expert in the field of sport science for his opinions on the matter.

Bok team for Pastas

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Bulls captain Victor Matfield, who had achieved many notable successes at the helm at provincial and Vodacom Super 14 level, leads the team in the absence of John Smit, who has a hamstring strain.

Matfield to captain Boks?

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Chiliboy Ralepelle at hooker and Victor Matfield as captain.

Boks for Bafana

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Here are some quotes from Bok management and players in support of our National Soccer team who will kick off the Soccer World Cup this Friday when they take on Mexico.

Bulls face Vic/Fourie void

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It may be a tad early to suggest it, but the biggest threat to the Bulls’ domination of South African rugby could be the successors to the captaincy duo of Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez.

Bulls confirm resting players – De Wet Barry surpise inclusion?

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Bulls captain Victor Matfield confirmed through Twitter that they will rest some key players for this weekend’s clash against the Stormers at Newlands.

Pakslae could have played 100 tests

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Victor Matfield believes he has the best of both worlds to be able to play with Danie Rossouw and Bakkies Botha.

Bekker or Matfield?

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Andries Bekker or Victor Matfield?

Bekker the talk of the town

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The Stormers’ Springbok lock Andries Bekker is a sensation in New Zealand.

Kuün only change to Bulls side

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Frans Ludeke only made one change to the Bulls side for their final tour match this weekend against the Reds.

Bulls change two

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The Bulls are wasting no time in putting the loss against the Blues behind them as they have already announced their team for the Chiefs clash this weekend.

Matfield to join Tahs

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Victor Matfield joining the Waratahs – not as a player but as a coach from 2012?

Matfield leads Baa-baa’s

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South Africa’s World Cup winning lock Victor Matfield will captain a powerful Barbarians side, containing uncapped young prop WP Nel, in this weekend big clash with the All Blacks at Twickenham.

Winning the battle, losing the war

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The Springboks might well win the battle on this European tour by winning their tests, but ultimately, they will lose to war.

Milestone approaching for three legendary Blue Bulls

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The Vodacom Blue Bulls’ Springbok trio of Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez will celebrate their 50th appearance for the Blue Bulls when they play against the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs in the Absa Currie Cup final on Saturday.

How to defend the RWC in 2011

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RuggaWorld member Newbokshields believes South Africa will retain the William Webb Ellis Cup if…..

What are we building towards?

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It is not often that I listen to Freestaters but this one made quite an interesting point.

WP the Bafana Bafana of rugby

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Just in time for the Currie Cup semi-final clash in Cape Town between arch-rivals WP and the Blue Bulls, JJ Harmse is on cue calling Western Province rugby the Bafana Bafana of rugby.