South Africa’s World Cup-winning lock Victor Matfield could make his international reappearance against Wales in June if he can perform a delicate balancing act with his French club, Toulon.
Matfield hasn’t played for the Springboks since the World Cup victory over England in October and has only featured in four games for the ambitious French second division side.
But newly installed South Africa coach Peter de Villiers is keen to have the giant lock in his team to face Wales on June 7 and 14.
”He [De Villiers) is coming to Toulon this week to talk to the president [Mourad Boudjellal], coach Tana Umaga and me,” said Matfield after helping his team to a 21-15 win over Racing-Metro on Sunday.
”That’s great. I always want to play for the Springboks.”
The 30-year-old Matfield has played 67 times for South Africa and is one of the players tipped to be a future skipper of the national team.
Toulon are currently 10 points clear at the top of the table and if they stay in that position, will automatically be promoted to the top flight.
But the first international against Wales coincides with the last day of the regular season while the second takes place on the same date set aside for the semifinal play-offs of the French second division.
Matfield is under contract to Toulon until the end of the season with an option for an extra season.
On Sunday, Toulon’s foreign legion of South African, Australian, New Zealand and English talent helped power them closer to promotion.
Former England winger Dan Luger scored two tries, former All Black flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens kicked 11 points while former Wallabies skipper George Gregan starred in the come-from-behind win over Racing Metro.
Matfield was also instrumental, stealing five line-outs as Toulon recovered from a 9-6 half-time deficit.
”We are in good shape at the moment and we have lots of experienced players like Andrew Mehrtens, George Gregan and Anton Oliver, so we don’t panic,” said Matfield.
”The team has a lot of confidence at the moment and it’s also good to see the young player growing in strength.”
Matfield said he was enjoying his life in the south of France but needs time to adapt to his new lifestyle.
”It’s always fun when you are winning,” he said. ”I’ve played four games and have won the four.”
However, mastering the language is another matter altogether.
”I know about 20 words more of French but I have to keep going,” he said. — Sapa-AFP