Planet Rugby

Yet more rugby for Matfield

01st July 2014 09:53

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More minutes: Victor Matfield

Victor Matfield has played 12 times for the Bulls and four times for the Boks this season. Still, though, no rest is forthcoming.

He has sat out only two of the Pretoria-based franchise's Super Rugby fixtures this season, and with Jean de Villiers injured, captained South Africa four weekends running against the World XV, Wales (twice) and Scotland this June.

It is perhaps an indictment of the lack of trust coaches are willing to place in the younger second-rows, and an indication of his importance to both that, despite his advancing years, he has been pitched back into elite rugby at a whirlwind pace. He has barely missed a beat.

It's derby day for the Bulls at Newlands this Saturday, when they take on the Stormers - whose second-row deficiencies and problems are well-documented - and early indications suggest Frans Ludeke is not prepared to bench or stand down his veteran linchpin, though he has already racked up more minutes than expected this season.

Ludeke will be without skipper Flip van der Merwe for the rest of the season, however, thus resting Matfield and depriving his pack of its two most influential locks in the process becomes difficult. In the former's absence, the captaincy will almost certainly fall to the World Cup-winner again in Cape Town.

Paul Willemse, heading for France come the end of the season, is set to replace van der Merwe - who sustained a knee injury - and Baby Bok tyro Nico Janse van Rensburg will come on to the bench.

Recent Springbok debutant and IRB Junior World Player of the Year Handre Pollard is primed to partner Francois Hougaard at fly-half.

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