27 Aug 2014

Matfield back for Boks

5:16 pm on 27 August 2014

Veteran lock Victor Matfield has been declared fit to tour Australia and New Zealand with South Africa and boost a forward pack that struggled in both Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina.

However prop Frans Malherbe has been ruled out with an ankle injury, robbing the Springboks front five of one of their options.

Malherbe fractured his ankle in the 33-31 win over Argentina in Salta on Sunday and will likely not play again this season.

The return of Matfield is timely for South Africa, who were dominated in the scrums and unsettled in the lineouts by Argentina in narrow home and away wins.

Springbok lock Victor Matfield

Springbok lock Victor Matfield Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The South African Rugby Union says flanker Willem Alberts will also rejoin the squad and have a fitness test on a hamstring problem ahead of the Australasia tour.

The Springboks fly to Australia this weekend ahead of games against Australia on September 6th in Perth and New Zealand one week later in Wellington.

With 113 Test caps, Matfield's experience will be vital to South Africa after they made a stumbling start to the tournament and needed a 20-minute burst at the end of this weekend's game in Argentina to overhaul a 28-16 deficit.

Number-2-ranked South Africa were hoping to close the gap on the All Blacks this season ahead of a World Cup year in 2015, but produced stuttering performances in their first two championship matches while New Zealand dismantled Australia 51-20 on Saturday in Auckland.

Wing Bryan Habana is in line to play his 100th Test in Perth against Australia, the fourth South African to reach that milestone after Matfield, John Smit and Percy Montgomery.