Profile of a Blue Bulls star
THE accolades speak for themselves. Victor Matfield has over the course of his career won the Currie Cup final three times (2002, 2004 & 2009), the Super 14 title in 2007, 2009 and 2010, the Tri-Nations in 2004 and 2009 and the Rugby World Cup in 2007.
In 2008 he was inducted into the University of Pretoria Hall of Fame.
But how much do we know about this Polokwane-born star and one of the most-talented players to don the blue jersey as well as the green and gold?
Born in 1977, Matfield is generally considered one of the best locks ever to have graced the game of rugby.
He studied at the University of Pretoria where he made the university’s Under-21 side. It did not take long for him to be selected for the Blue Bulls U21 side as well.
In 1997, Matfield was selected for the U21 Springbok side captained by Bobby Skinstad. Matfield was also selected for the 1998 squad.
He made a career-defining move when he left the Blue Bulls for the Griquas in 1999. There, he was selected to represent the Cats in the Super 12. Having proved his worth at the Cats, in 2000 he was given the opportunity to represent the Bulls Super 12 team.
In 2001 he was finally selected for the Springbok squad, making his debut on June 30, 2001 against Italy. Matfield was instrumental in the revival of the Springboks in 2004 and 2005, making the five-man shortlist for IRB World Player of the Year in 2005.
He was a shoo-in for South Africa’s 2007 World Cup winning-squad and won the Man of the Match award in the final for his brilliant work in the lineout.
He later signed a six-month contract with French second division club Toulon, beginning in January 2008
Between January and February 2008, Matfield played for Toulon in a stretch of nine key matches, before returning to South Africa and taking part in the 2008 Super 14 season with the Bulls.
In 2014, Matfield returned to rugby as a player, signing a twoyear playing contract with the Bulls to keep him in the game until the end of 2015
At the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Matfield started in the first two group games for South Africa. The Springboks advanced to the knock out stages, with Matfield coming on from the bench in their semi final loss to New Zealand.
His final international game was a 24-13 win in the third place playoff against Argentina where he again came on as a second half substitute.
After the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Matfield played for Northampton for one season before ending his 21-year career in a game against Gloucester Rugby. Interesting facts
- Matfield grew up with an equal love for cricket and rugby
- In 2013, he became a television commentator for Super Sport for the Super Rugby season that year
- Matfield played 74 minutes of a brutal Test match with a broken rib in 2010, against England at Twickenham