Matfield part of coaching team on Bulls tour

NICK SAID
Last updated 03:10 03/04/2014
Victor Matfield

RESTED: Veteran Victor Matfield will travel with the Bulls to New Zealand and Australia, but as part of the coaching team, rather than the playing squad.

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Lock Victor Matfield will tour Australasia with the Bulls but only as an advisor to the coaching team, coach Frans Ludeke has confirmed.

Matfield has made a successful return to Super Rugby this season as he seeks to play his way back into the South Africa side for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

But the Bulls have confirmed he was always going to be rested for the overseas tour where they face the Hurricanes and Highlanders in New Zealand, and the New South Wales Waratahs and Western Force in Australia.

"Matfield will only play on tour when there is an injury to the other locks and will instead join the coaching staff on this trip," the Pretoria-based side said in a statement on Wednesday.

"It was all decided on when the lock's return to rugby was negotiated."

They are cautious of overworking the 2007 Rugby World Cup winner, who will turn 37 next month, and the return to fitness of Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has given Ludeke more options in the second row.

Van der Merwe will take over the captaincy and number five jersey from Matfield in Saturday's fixture against the Hurricanes, one of two changes to the starting pack that sensationally drew 34-34 with the Chiefs last time out.

In the other, Jacques Engelbrecht comes in at number eight, with Dewald Potgieter moving to the side of the scrum in place of Jacques du Plessis, who moves to the bench.

Ludeke says the resting of Matfield is part of a planned rotation of players.

"We are looking to start rotating players from now on and with the depth we have in the squad, it is something I don't mind doing," Ludeke said.

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- Reuters

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