Planet Rugby

Bok skipper: The case for Matfield

27th May 2014 12:46

Share:

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
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00