Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says Victor Matfield can still make a valuable contribution as a player.
Matfield's return to the playing field after two years of retirement was confirmed on Friday. The lock's last match was the Springboks' 2011 World Cup quarter-final against the Wallabies. He has since has a stint with SuperSport and been the Bulls forwards and attack coach.
Meyer said he was very happy that the 36-year-old had decided to make a return.
'I have always maintained that we have a lack of depth at No 5 lock and believed that Victor could still make a valuable contribution as a player,' said Meyer. 'I’m glad that Victor has decided to do put on his boots again and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action. He was not given any guarantees about Springbok selection. If he can show he still has what it takes to be a Springbok, he will be considered, along with every other player who is eligible to play for South Africa.
'Victor has put in a lot of hard work to get into playing shape again and I’m sure he will make a success of his return to the game. Our depth at lock in South Africa isn’t great. Experienced players such as Andries Bekker and Juandré Kruger are now playing abroad, while Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit have missed a fair amount of rugby in the last year because of injuries.
'Victor has always been a world-class rugby player and knows what it takes to succeed at the highest level – I’m sure he would not have made this decision had he known he would not be able to compete or not believed he could be the best in his position again.
'We’ve seen in the past that players can make a successful return to rugby after a lengthy period on the sidelines. Jake White successfully brought back Os du Randt and Bob Skinstad, who both played a vital role when the Springboks won the World Cup in 2007. More recently, Schalk Burger and Juan Smith have made a successful return from career-threatening injuries.'
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