• Why we’re backing Big Vic

    Victor Matfield has made the right decision to come out of retirement.

    Matfield is lacing up his boots again after two years of TV work and coaching. The Bulls will reportedly ease the 36-year-old back, by using him off the bench at first and then starting him in the latter stages of the tournament, to ensure he is ready to play Test rugby.

    Will the Bok legend make a successful comeback?

    In the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, on sale today, Mark Keohane explains why, no matter what happens, Matfield’s return is a win-win situation for him, the Bulls and the Boks.

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    Another intriguing aspect of 2014 Super Rugby involves Frans Steyn, who had a 2013 season to forget. Having been named Sharks captain in the absence of the injured Keegan Daniel, an out-of-shape Steyn was dropped from the starting XV in March and told to work on his conditioning. He didn’t stay on the bench for long, but continued to struggle for form before sustaining a leg injury in May that required surgery.

    It will be fascinating to see how Steyn performs in this year’s Super Rugby tournament under new Sharks director of rugby Jake White. It was White who picked the then teenager for the Springboks in 2006 and backed him to start at the World Cup the following year. As senior staff writer Ryan Vrede asks in this issue, will White be able to get the best out of a player who has failed to fire since returning from France?

    Also in this issue:

    Johan Goosen will continue to play the game his way

    – The Stormers and Springboks hope Jaco Taute’s second coming brings with it the attacking weaponry that can shape their seasons

    Elton Jantjies needs to perform for the Lions after an unsuccessful stint with the Stormers

    Bismarck du Plessis could be an inspired choice for Sharks captain if he maintains his discipline

    – What John Mitchell will be looking out for during this year’s Varsity Cup and Super Rugby tournaments

    – Blues utility back Charles Piutau hopes to build on his impressive 2013 season

    Quade Cooper has improved his discipline and regained his confidence since Ewen McKenzie became Wallabies coach

    – Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny is the most valuable player in Europe

    – England flyhalf Owen Farrell still has the time to take his game to the next level

    – The Blitzboks' success this season is down to their improved defence

    – Former Blitzboks coach Paul Treu on the challenges he faces with the Kenya Sevens team

    – We select a Saffas in France XV based on players' performances in January

    – A foreigners quota will force French clubs to include at least 12 players eligible for the national side in their match-day squads

    – Springbok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar has been in excellent form for Ulster

    PLUS: GIANT 2014 FIXTURES POSTER!

    Post by

    Simon Borchardt