Springbok legend Victor Matfield has admitted that he wouldn’t consider coming out of retirement for any coach, but Heyneke Meyer.
Matfield’s comfortable retirement from rugby has been thrown into turmoil since the new Bok coach announced his desire to bring the veteran back to lead the side against England in June.
The 34-year-old has been grappling with the decision for a while and explained that he had spoken to Meyer, but that he needed more time to think it over.
“To be honest I wouldn’t have thought about it with any other coach,” he told this website.
“I’ve said for years the amount of respect I have for Heyneke and he’s the only coach in the world who could make me even think about coming back.”
Since quitting rugby Matfield explained that life had been interesting, but very different. He has kept himself busy commentating on the game, helping out at the Bulls and by taking up cycling.
“I’ve taken up cycling as a sport and I’m using it to keep fit,” he added. “My wife and I have been riding together, which has been great fun.”
Should he be tempted back to rugby Matfield stressed that he wouldn’t consider any team other than his beloved Bulls, explaining that: “My bloed is blou.”
Away from the riggours of regular rugby his body has had some time to recover from the punishment it went through during his illustrious career. He believes he could keep up with any lock in the country at fitness training, but would need a lot of work to be ready for contact.
“My body feels better now than it did a year ago having had some rest, but playing a match is a different story altogether,” he explained.
The former Bok captain has already been involved with the planning process and offered some line-out advice to the Cheetahs and Lions players at the first of three Springbok planning camps.
“It’s been great to be involved with Heyneke helping out with the Lions and Cheetahs players as they prepare for the internationals,” he explained.
“I’ve been giving input about the line-outs much like I’ve done at the Bulls previously, and there’s a lot of talent there which is exciting.”
Matfield conceded that the Springbok side always needed to strike a balance between youngsters and senior players, and believes there are several experienced stars making an impact in Super Rugby this season.
“You always need senior players with experience, and there are a lot of older guys playing very well like Jean de Villiers and Wynand Olivier,” he said.
Former Bulls and Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has also been identified by Meyer as a player he would like to have back on the field, and Matfield believes his former teammate could still add great value to South African rugby.
“Somebody like Fourie du Preez has a brain like nobody else in world rugby, so it would be fantastic if they could get him back,” he said.
Unwilling to comment any further on the speculation of his possible return, we will have to wait and see if the lure of the Green & Gold is too strong for the veteran lock who already has a whopping 110 Test caps to his name.