Springboks recall Victor Matfield
May 19, 2014
Victor Matfield is back in the Boks mix © Getty Images
South Africa have recalled World Cup-winning second-row Victor Matfield for their training camp in Durban next week.
Matfield is joined by Schalk Burger after both spent a lengthy spell away from the Test side. Matfield last played for the Boks in the 2011 World Cup and since then, he retired but then decided to return to playing and is back at the Bulls. Burger has struggled with injury and his last international was against Australia in October 2011 but both could play a role in their June Test programme and the Rugby Championship.
The Springboks' 2014 fixtures
"Victor and Schalk have been out of rugby for a long time," Boks coach Heyneke Meyer said. "They've really been in great form recently and the fact that they have not been with the Boks for more than two years, has made them hungry for Test rugby yet again.
"It's great to welcome them back into the Springbok fold and I know both of them can still add a lot of value to the team with the Rugby World Cup in 2015 looming."
The 36-man group includes eight uncapped with players with two of them former Sevens players Cornal Hendricks and S'bura Sithole. The others are the Cheetahs duo Lood de Jager (lock) and Teboho "Oupa" Mohoje (back-row), the Bulls' Marcel van der Merwe (prop) and Jacques du Plessis (back-row), the Lions' Marnitz Boshoff (fly-half) and the Stormers' Damian De Allende (centre).
They will train in Durban between May 25 and 28 but no players who are in England or France have been considered as the camp falls outside of the IRB's international window.
"It looks like most of the guys are improving weekly and a few new players have put up their hands, which is good to see with the first match of the season, against the World XV in Cape Town, only a few weeks away," Meyer said. "It's also very encouraging to see a bunch of new players emerging from Super Rugby.
"This is a very big year for us and the players know they will have to step up a gear, be sharp and focused from the moment we get going in Durban. We have 14 very challenging matches ahead in 2014 and it's imperative that we build on what was a good season last year.
"It's important that we start building continuity because there are just 18 matches left until the Rugby World Cup starts. But it's just as important to recognise continuous good form. We also have a number of players struggling with injury niggles or returning from injury which we have to assess."
Forwards (20): Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Cheetahs), Marcel van der Merwe (Bulls), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Lood de Jager (Cheetahs)*, Victor Matfield (Bulls), Flip van der Merwe (Bulls), Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Willem Alberts (Sharks), Jacques du Plessis (Bulls), Teboho Mohoje (Cheetahs), Duane Vermeulen (Stormers), Schalk Burger (Stormers).
Backs (16): Fourie du Preez (Suntory, Japan), Francois Hougaard (Bulls), Johan Goosen (Cheetahs), Marnitz Boshoff (Lions), Jean de Villiers (Stormers), Damian De Allende (Stormers), Jan Serfontein (Bulls), Juan de Jongh (Stormers), JJ Engelbrecht (Bulls), S'bura Sithole (Sharks), Frans Steyn (Sharks), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Bjorn Basson (Bulls), JP Pietersen (Sharks), Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs), Willie le Roux (Cheetahs).
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