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.
Communication error please reload the page.
Three-time world champion Niki Lauda says Sebastian Vettel's victory in Malaysia was good for Formula One and the German driver's own image after the reputation he built between 2010 and 2013
Amir Khan believes the time is not right for a Battle of Britain with Kell Brook for the IBF world welterweight title as the reigning champion is virtually unknown in the United States
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Sebastian Vettel's win for Ferrari in Malaysia has set alarm bells ringing for the reigning world champion
Wayne Rooney believes England are at last starting to strike fear into opponents. The Three Lions were all too easily exposed during a disappointing summer in Brazil last year
Tiger Woods has fallen out of the top 100 players in golf's world rankings for the first time since 1996
After a 10-year break in the fixture, England and Italy have faced each other three times in as many seasons, with one win each and a draw
Queensland are worth watching again, even if victory over the Lions would have papered over cracks, because Quade Cooper is back in the No.10 jersey, Greg Growden writes
In a exciting return from injury, Quade Cooper thrilled fans to become Player of the Round, while a new star now leads the medal tally
The Hurricanes have always been a franchise rich on talent, but something was always awry; not any more as they look the real deal Sam Bruce writes
In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Dion Dublin makes something of a career change, RFU officials have some harsh words for the national team, and Kell Brook is eyeing a bigger prize...
Six months after being victim of a machete attack that left him fearing for his life, Kell Brook dished out a vicious attack of his own in his a first world title defence
Kell Brook is not waiting for Amir Khan to make up his mind about fighting him and hopes to face either Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez or American Brandon Rios this summer
Patrick Kluivert has revealed he did not follow Louis van Gaal to Manchester United as his No.2 last summer as he was holding out for a managerial role instead
Luis Suarez received a rapturous reception as he made his first return to Anfield since joining Barcelona, playing the second half of a charity game between sides captained by Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher
Danny Welbeck believes signing for Arsenal has helped him to improve his international form for England
Rory McIlroy walked off at the Honda Classic. What next for the Northern Irishman?
Join Steve Bunce and Barry Jones each week for the latest news, views and debate from the boxing world.
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November
Miroslav Klose scored goals in the World Cup final tournaments of 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. Has anyone else scored World Cup goals 12 years apart?