Matfield ‘playing like an old man’

Date published: February 24 2015

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Former Springbok prop Ollie le Roux says that Victor Matfield is endangering his legacy and "playing like an old man" for the Bulls.

Matfield came out of retirement at beginning of the 2014 season after retiring following the last Rugby World Cup.

The 37-year-old did some TV work and coaching after hanging up his boots but returned to the game last year, winning the second highest number of lineouts in Super Rugby with 73, with the objective of playing in this year's RWC tournament.

Le Roux however believes that Matfield has "lost his presence" and can no longer go toe-to-toe with the best physically after a subdued start to the 2015 campaign.

Furthermore Le Roux, who won 54 caps for the Springboks between 1994-2002, believes that Matfield will struggle overall against rising star Pieter-Steph du Toit when the Bulls face the Sharks this weekend.

"Victor Matfield is playing like an old man at the moment. He's lost the presence he once had and even his lineout work is suffering," Le Roux told SARugbyMag.co.za.

"He just doesn't have it in him to provide a physical presence around the park anymore, and the longer he goes on, the more his legacy will be tainted.

"He's got a massive battle this weekend against Pieter-Steph du Toit, who is younger and hungrier. Matfield will always be able to compete at the lineouts, but matches aren't won there, they're won in open play.

"Will he be able to match Du Toit in the other aspects of play? I'm not so sure."

 

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