Pro­file of a Blue Bulls star

Vic­tor Mat­field

Pretoria News - - Pretoria News -

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

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