Planet Rugby

Bok skipper: The case for Matfield

27th May 2014 12:46


victor matfield bulls brumbies

Tried and tested: Victor Matfield

We love a good debate at Planet Rugby. A day after one of our writers call for Bismarck du Plessis to be handed the Springbok captaincy, another is backing Victor Matfield...

Insistence that Bismarck du Plessis be handed the Springbok captaincy in the absence of Jean de Villiers is, ironically, exactly what David Skippers tried to dispel earlier this week - burdensome and ultimately counterproductive.

Heyneke Meyer has placated the media with the suggestion there are "plenty" of candidates - but, genuinely, there is only one man for the job. Meyer's pseudo frontrunners - du Plessis, Schalk Burger, Francois Louw, Duane Vermeulen - cannot compete with Victor Matfield.

Surely, Meyer, despite an unwillingness to publicly commit, isn't going to look elsewhere. The bond formed with Matfield at the Bulls is too strong for other mitigating factors to prove otherwise.

Supposition that the 30-year-old Du Plessis' promotion will serve a purpose for June with preparation for next year's World Cup at the top of its agenda lacks perspective. The Springboks are, of course, eager to add to 1995 and 2007's successes, but not necessarily at the expense of 2014's record.

The appointment of the composed, 37-year-old Matfield - rather than the characteristically temperamental Du Plessis - will solidify the immediate momentum required for future gains. The role is temporary, regardless. De Villiers will lead the Boks to England, so rather bank on the level head of the lock now than rely on what the unpredictable hooker might bring.

True, Du Plessis is the current vice-captain. But in the modern era of professionalism and flaky titles, he was never genuinely earmarked to take on the reins in the hypothetical absence of de Villiers. South African Cricket will navigate a similar scenario, if Hashim Amla or Faf du Plessis succeed Graeme Smith ahead of unofficial understudy AB de Villiers. Australian Cricket, too, orchestrated a comparable upturn in leadership expectations last year. Examples are numerous. Rejection of Bismarck du Plessis would not be unprecedented.

Assumption that Meyer's endorsement of Matfield ahead of Du Plessis might negatively affect team morale, too, is untoward. Meyer has been abundantly clear that the squad - the senior members, if not the lesser experienced - will be consulted. Frank conversations will reveal bold opinions, while others will just toe the proverbial line. Neither will be excluded in an open, transparent appointment. Those who didn't express grievances then, will have no room for grievances later.

These are significant times for the Springboks. Jake White is still viewed as the one that got away, the legacy of Peter de Villiers' wobbly tenure is yet to be undone and Meyer has failed to win the public's vote as promptly as anticipated. Promoting Matfield ahead of Du Plessis or any other pretender - for the eight week absence of Jean de Villiers, at least - will go a long way in appeasing the bulk of the conundrum.

By Jonhenry Wilson

Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs vs Crusaders19:40
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Crusaders 38 - 6 SharksCrusaders vs Sharks Report
Waratahs 26 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
5Leicester Tigers00