Victor Matfield is regarded as the best lock in the world and has been a key figure for South Africa since making his international debut off the replacements bench against Italy on June 30, 2001.
A meticulous student of the game, Matfield spends hours analysing the opposition. Unrivalled in his role of lineout kingpin, he almost always wins his own lineout ball and is a master at disrupting opposition lineouts.
Matfield is the most capped lock in Springbok history as well as the third most capped Springbok of all-time (92) and along with Bulls and Boks teammate Bakkies Botha holds the World record for most Tests as a starting lock combination (54).
He is also a natural leader who has captained South Africa in 10 Tests. By the time the 2003 World Cup kicked off in Australia, Matfield had cemented his place in the second row. He played an integral role in the Springboks’ Tri-Nations winning campaign under Jake White in 2004 and scored the SuperSport Try of the Year in the Test against Australia in Durban.
In 2007, Matfield became the 52nd Springbok captain when he led South Africa out against archrivals New Zealand in the Tri-Nations clash in Durban. He was an obvious selection for the Springbok World Cup squad later in the year and won the Man of the Match award for his faultless performance in South Africa’s 15-6 victory over England in the final.
The following year he became the first international captain to lead his side to victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand since England’s Martin Johnson in 2003. The thrilling 30-28 win was the Springboks’ first ever victory in Carisbrook and ended a 10-year drought on New Zealand soil.
Matfield’s brilliance once again came to the fore in the 2009 British & Irish Lions series when he outclassed Lions skipper Paul O’Connell and helped propel the Boks to a thrilling series win. Later that year he won his second Tri-Nations winners’ medal as South Africa dominated their Australasian foes.
Matfield has also enjoyed great success at provincial level. To date he has won the Currie Cup on three occasions and led the Bulls to two Super 14 titles.
Records/Honours:Captained the Springboks in 10 TestsSA Player of the Year nominee, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2009SuperSport Try of the Year, 2004 (vs. Australia in Durban)Currie Cup winner with the Blue Bulls, 2002, 2004 & 2009Tri-Nations winner, 2004 & 2009IRB Player of the Year nominee, 2004 & 2009Super 14 winner with the Blue Bulls, 2007 & 2009Member of the World Cup winning Springbok squad, 2007British & Irish Lions series winner, 2009Most capped lock in Springbok historyThird most capped Springbok in historyHolds World record with Bakkies Botha for most Tests as a lock combination in the starting line-up