‘I’m feeling first class’

Victor Matfield says he is in better condition now than he was in 2011 when he retired.

The 36-year-old made his comeback on Saturday off the bench in the 49th minute of the Bulls' warm-up match against the Stormers in Polokwane.

Speaking to Rapport newspaper, Matfield said he is 'feeling first class' and 'no longer has the irritation from the pain in my back and knees like before.'

Matfield added that he would not have retired at the end of 2011 had he known that Heyneke Meyer would become Springbok coach in 2012.

'When he was appointed early in 2012 I contemplated every day about making a return, especially when my new job as a TV commentator didn't work out as I had expected. I was never comfortable in front of a camera and quickly decided that the playing field was where I wanted to be.'

Matfield would have been selected for the Boks' June Tests in 2012, but the World Anti-Doping Agency's ruling that a retired sportsman has to give six months' notice before returning, prevented him from doing so.

But Matfield is now back and says he wants to be part of 'the best Springbok side ever that will take the [World Cup] trophy' next year.

However, while Matfield made a successful return in Polokwane, Bok flank Arno Botha, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Scotland last June, had to be helped off the field with a new knee injury. It is not yet known how long he will be sidelined for.

Rapport's full interview with Matfield

Photo: Anne Laing/Getty Images

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