Le Roux: Matfield is ‘playing like an old man’

Former Springbok Ollie le Roux says that Victor Matfield is risking his legacy as a Springbok great as he is “playing like an old man ” for the Bulls in 2015.

Matfield is the most capped Springbok at 121 tests and came out of retirement at the start of 2014 to have one last shot at the Rugby World Cup.

Matfield captained the Bulls in the 2014 Super Rugby season and also assisted with the coaching duties and in June last year he went straight back into the Springbok team.

Le Roux has watched the Bulls lose their opening two Super Rugby matches this season and has based his opinion on Matfield’s performance over the last two weeks.

“Victor Matfield is playing like an old man at the moment. He’s lost the presence he once had and even his lineout work is suffering, ” former Bok prop le Roux told SARugbymag.

“He just doesn’t have it in him to provide a physical presence around the park anymore, and the longer he goes on, the more his legacy will be tainted. “

Last year the Bulls went through the Super Rugby season unbeaten at Loftus Versfeld but in 2015 they lost their season opener to the Stormers and were expected to bounce back against the Hurricanes but they also lost to the Wellington side.

Le Roux says that thirty-seven-year-old Matfield faces a massive challenge this weekend when the Bulls host the Sharks at Loftus.

“He’s got a massive battle this weekend against Pieter-Steph du Toit, who is younger and hungrier, ” said Le Roux.

“Matfield will always be able to compete at the lineouts, but matches aren’t won there, they’re won in open play. Will he be able to match Du Toit in the other aspects of play? I’m not so sure. “

If Matfield retains his place in the Springbok squad for the Rugby World Cup in England he will be thirty-eight years old.

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