Matfield sticks to retirement plans

South Africa lock Victor Matfield has again reiterated his intentions to quit rugby after next year’s World Cup as he prepares for his 100th game in a Springbok jersey.

South Africa lock Victor Matfield has again reiterated his intentions to quit rugby after next year’s World Cup as he prepares for his 100th game in a Springbok jersey.

The veteran is set to reach the landmark number of Test caps when South Africa face Australia in a Tri Nations encounter in Pretoria tomorrow.

His achievement comes a week after captain John Smit achieved the same feat in Johannesburg and Matfield admits the honour will be especially poignant considering it is also on his club home ground – Loftus Versfeld.

“It will be great to play my 100th Test at Loftus, it has been a great place for me,” he said.

“It’s like a second home, I have a lot of friends there and I’ve had some unbelievable times there.

“It’s going to be very special playing at Loftus and with the crowd and the field, hopefully it can inspire us to win because that’s what’s most important.”

The Springboks vice-captain had said recently that the 2011 World Cup would be his last and he again made his intentions clear today.

He continued: “You can never say never but at the moment that’s the decision.

“I think the World Cup will be the last of me, I’ll play no more than that.”

Coach Peter de Villiers has made two changes for the game, bringing in Frans Steyn at full-back and Jaque Fourie at centre with Gio Aplon and Juan de Jongh making way.

The world champions will head into the game desperate to end a run of four consecutive defeats that has left them winless so far in this season’s Tri Nations.

They have not lost five matches in a row since 2006 when a loss to France was followed by two defeats each to the Wallabies and New Zealand.

Having already lost to Robbie Deans’ side in Brisbane last month, the pressure is again set to be intense as they look to silence the critics, who have questioned several of the old guard in the team.

One of those is the 33-year-old Matfield, but he believes he could go on playing several more Test matches in 2010 if there was a need.

He said: “I feel like I could play 10 more.

“My body feels fine, but I am looking forward to the break after the Tri Nations where I can get some rest and put in some good conditioning work.”

Matfield also revealed plans to remain in the game with Boland, where he has financial investments, after his retirement, adding: “I hope after my playing career that I will keep in the game because this is my passion, rugby is my life.

“I’m still involved with the Boland Rugby Union but I’m not sure I’ll go into coaching there immediately, I’ll probably stay behind the scenes but make rugby decisions.

“But I am still playing, so those sort of decisions will only be made next year.”

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