Matfield joins Bulls coaching staff
Former Springbok captain Victor Matfield has joined the Bulls' coaching team for next year's Super Rugby campaign.
The Bulls said Matfield, previously in a consulting role, would be the side's forwards and attack coach for the 2013 season, while fellow former Springbok Derick Hougaard was on board as the junior skills and kicking coach at the union.
"Victor was a world-class player. He has got so much to give back to the system," said Bulls head coach Frans Ludeke.
"Someone like Victor has so much experience to give back to our players and I am very excited to work with one of the sharpest rugby minds in the business."
Hougaard was pleased to return to Loftus Versfeld and hoped to help younger players at the union in his role as kicking consultant.
"I've got one foot still wanting to play and the other not sure what needs to be done," Hougaard said.
"To be able to be back in the Bulls setup so soon is a dream come true and I didn't realise how much I have missed being here.
"I know it's a passion and just wearing the blue clothing again is quite exciting."
'Training and patience'
Hougaard was not ruling out a possible return to the playing field, should the opportunity present itself.
"There is one side of me that still wants to finish as a player at Loftus," he said.
"I'm hoping and praying. There is always a chance, but I've had three operations and the last one was a reconstruction.
"The mechanics of the body is not 100% but hopefully with a lot of training and patience I will get to a stage where I feel comfortable."
Ludeke also confirmed that Blue Bulls Currie Cup mentor Pine Pienaar was promoted to Super Rugby defence coach.
Meanwhile, centre Wynand Olivier, returning from a stint in Japan, would be one of 19 Springboks on the roster for the new season.
"He will join us as soon as his club commitments end in Japan," Ludeke said.
"His record at the Bulls speaks volumes and Wynand will be an important player for us next year."
Two Lions players, Lionel Mapoe and Callie Visagie, were also acquired on loan after the Johannesburg outfit lost their place in the Super Rugby competition.
"We are really excited to have them," Ludeke said.
"Some vital positions have been filled and they give our squad a boost.
"They can add value and will play a big role in our campaign."
Grant Hattingh and Paul Willemse, who played Super Rugby for the Lions this year, and Marcel van der Merwe of the Cheetahs were signed to contracts with the Pretoria team.
National Under-20 star Handre Pollard was among the extended squad of 53 players that would prepare for the 2013 season. – Sapa