Seasoned Matfield admits to being nervous

FILE PICTURE: Victor Matfield (Coach) during the Vodacom Blue Bulls training session and press conference at Loftus Versveld on September 04, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

It might sound somewhat bizarre from a man with a combined 234 Springbok and Super Rugby caps to his name but Victor Matfield, right, admits he’ll experience a bout of nerves again when he returns to the rugby field.

The legendary 36-year-old second rower was included on the Bulls’ bench for their Super Rugby opener against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, culminating in a much-publicised comeback.
“I told Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger before our warm-up against the Stormers that I’m having the same feelings as a 20-year-old. There comes a time when you wind down your career where you rely more on your wisdom instead of adrenaline,” said Matfield yesterday.

“That’s totally changed again. I’m feeling the pinch but that’s good.”

Questions abound over this course of action, most prominently how his body will handle the intense contact as well as the dynamic of being a coach while playing alongside “his” players.

Matfield is currently also employed as line-out and attack coach at the union.

“The switch from coach to player isn’t such a big thing, I think. I feel that while coaching I was close to a player-coach role anyway so the only thing now is that I can’t tell the players to do what I say but do what I do,” he quipped.

“My biggest challenge has been determining if I’m physical enough for this level of play again. I was quite happy with my tackle count, I just need game time.”

However, Frans Ludeke confirmed that Matfield is unlikely to start anytime soon.

“We’ve planned this thing. Victor is also committed to developing the players we have in the position.”

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