Heinz Schenk
1 minute read
9 Apr 2014
6:00 am

Matfield back in harness for Bulls

Heinz Schenk

Victor Matfield had about three days on the Bulls' current Super Rugby tour as a coach before it became apparent that he'd need to dust off his boots again.

FILE PICTURE: Victor Matfield. Image courtesy AFP

It was subsequently confirmed yesterday after coach Frans Ludeke included the 36-year-old lock in the starting line-up for their meeting with the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.

For some, the correlation between Matfield’s quick return and the tour-ending injuries of Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter, will be obvious.

The hard truth though is far more disconcerting – is the Bulls pack already becoming too reliant again on the legendary, if ageing, second rower?

“Obviously all the players really enjoy playing with Victor,” said Ludeke.

“He adds immense value but in terms of managing, it is unfortunately a tough situation at the moment. But he’s keen and we’ll be sensible going forward. We have enough locks in the group to allow us to mix it around, but for this week, we need his guidance and help to get us back to winning ways.”

Undeniable though was the Bulls’ general iffiness when it came to the set-pieces during last weekend’s 25-20 loss to the Hurricanes.

Ludeke’s troops weren’t poor as much as they looked rather underpowered.

Matfield’s security in the lineouts was a feature of his previous two-week stint in the starting XV back home.

“It’s going to be important for us this week to secure our set-pieces better. In fact, I feel we almost need to apply more pressure on the opposition in that regard,” said Ludeke.

“It’s the small things like timing and the support from lifters that let us down.

”It wasn’t strategy, just some overall rhythm.”