Matfield: Is Meyer leaving door open?
Sat, 02 Nov 2013 09:20
You should speak to the player and his union
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was as guarded as always, but he did not rule out the possibility of recalling another World Cup winner.
Reports surfaced on Friday that Victor Matfield is considering coming out of retirement.
The 36-year-old Matfield, who retired from the game at the end of the 2011 World Cup, is currently the forwards and attack coach for the Bulls Super Rugby and Blue Bulls Currie Cup teams.
Matfield has remained tightlipped, but it is not too far-fetched to suggest the Bok mentor would look in the legend's direction, given Meyer's public declarations that No.5 remains a headache for the Boks.
Meyer this week recalled Matfield's long-time second row partner Bakkies Botha, wing JP Pietersen and centre Jaque Fourie.
The Bok coach was very cautious when asked about Matfield at a media briefing in Johannesburg.
"You should speak to the player and his union about him coming back - it is not in my hands," Meyer said.
The Bok mentor said the inclusion of Botha, Pietersen and Fourie was a logical decision given, the quality the players have displayed in the past.
It will be Botha's and Fourie's first involvement with the Springboks since the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, while Pietersen was back in the squad for the first time this year.
This could leave the door open for Matfield's return.
"I've always believed that we need quality No.5 locks in this country," the Bok coach told the media briefing ahead of his team's departure on their three-Test European adventure.
"If you are good enough and old enough, you can play. He [Matfield] has always been a quality player and he has also been fit.
"I've also heard the rumours and it will be interesting to see if he is going to play."
Meyer further hinted that age will not be a factor when he selects his teams in the next two years, as he builds towards the 2015 World Cup in England.
"I believe coaching is overrated," he Bok coach said, adding: "A world class player is a world class player and more players make coaches than the other way around.
"If you pick a world class player, he will produce."
Meyer admitted that South Africa need quality youngsters coming through as No.5 locks.
"Only time will tell, but that is the position I'm worried about in South Africa," he said, adding: "Pieter-Steph [Du Toit] and Eben [Etzebeth] will grow into great No.5 locks.
"The more guys who can play there, the better it is for South Africa and the best guys will play in the end."
The Springboks kick-off their European tour against Wales, the Six Nations champions, at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff next Saturday (November 9).
They play Scotland the following Sunday (November 17) in Edinburgh and end their tour against France on November 23 in Paris.
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