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‘I couldn’t say no to Lions’

  • 11 Aug 2017
Victor Matfield and Swys de Bruin Victor Matfield and Swys de Bruin

Victor Matfield says he couldn’t turn down the chance to work with former mentor Swys de Bruin at the Lions.

The former Bok lock played under De Bruin in 1999 and 2000 when the latter was head coach of Griquas. De Bruin took over from Johan Ackermann as Lions head coach on Thursday when it was announced that Matfield would join the coaching staff.

’If there is one person I want to coach and learn from, it’s Swys de Bruin,' said Matfield. 'He was my coach when I started playing for Griquas in 1999 and I became a Springbok under his guidance. I have the world of respect for him.

‘He gave me an opportunity as a 21-year-old and that is something that has always stayed with me.’

ALSO READ: Matfield joins Lions coaches

Matfield said while the Bulls would always be special to him, he wanted to be part of the Lions' culture.

‘It’s fantastic to be part of the Lions setup. I admire their team culture and I am here to learn how things are done.

'When I was part of the Bulls' coaching staff, it was quite difficult, especially the year I was in the player-coach role. But this week, I could see the intensity in Lions training from the outset.'

Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

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