Victor Matfield to set Springboks Test record
June 19, 2014
Victor Matfield leads South Africa from the front © Getty Images
Victor Matfield will become South Africa's most-capped player when he captains the Springboks against Wales at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday.
On his 112th cap, Matfield, 37, leads an experienced starting line-up featuring two changes from the team that defeated Wales by 38-16 in Durban last week. Both changes are in the pack, with Tendai Mtawarira returning at loose-head prop and Flip van der Merwe partnering the captain in the second-row in place of Bakkies Botha.
The only other change is among the backline reserves, where Wynand Olivier replaces the injured Johan Goosen to provide midfield cover.
Groundstaff at the Mbombela Stadium prepare the pitch for the South Africa-Wales Test © Twitter
Matfield made his Test debut against Italy in Port Elizabeth on June 30, 2001. He retired after the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, having won 110 caps, but he made a successful return earlier this year.
"This is a fantastic accolade for Victor," Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said.
"He has been a terrific servant of the game in South Africa and has led his country with distinction since returning ... when he returned to the game earlier this season, he set his goals on becoming a Springbok yet again and he's worked extremely hard to get there.
"I don't think anyone can doubt that he deserves his place in the team. And he's also been a great interim captain, with Jean de Villiers out injured."
Meyer said it was an easy decision to stick with the core of the team that won in Durban. "I've always preferred to stick with a winning combination, and the changes to the team were both part of our planning," Meyer said. "The backline really performed well last weekend and we would like to give them another opportunity to play together, as there were a number of new combinations."
Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, JP Pietersen, Jan Serfontein, Bryan Habana, Morn Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Flip van der Merwe, Victor Matfield (captain), Francois Louw, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen
Replacements: Schalk Brits, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Schalk Burger, Ruan Pienaar, Wynand Olivier, Lwazi Mvovo.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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