In the Hotseat - Victor Matfield from Durban
August 10, 2011
Every week we give readers of BOKzine the opportunity to ask questions of South African rugby personalities. Simply sign up for our weekly fan newsletter, BOKzine, by clicking here!

Springbok vice-captain Victor Matfield is in the Hotseat this week and talks about his views of John Smit, the Boks' World Cup plans and his plans post 2011.

Your Question: Hi, seeing that your retiring soon would you consider staying with the Springboks as a mentor role? For example some teams have used experienced players as water boys so they can give them advice and encouragement on the field during a game. Good luck for the RWC and thanks for the memories over the years! - Chris

Answer: Hi Chris - I would always be available to help the Boks, it runs in my blood!

Your Question: What has happened to Springbok rugby? - Trevor

Answer: Nothing Trevor. Over the last four years we won the Rugby World Cup and the Tri-Nations, beat the British & Irish Lions, France, England (twice at Twickenham), Ireland, Wales...I can go on. Sure there were some less than ideal results too, but all is well on this side, thanks. We're looking forward to the next few months as I'm sure you are.

Your Question: Hi Victor, from one Victor to another.! Will you be retiring from ALL rugby after the World Cup &, if so, how do you feel about it, after your long & illustrious career.? What will you be doing with yourself, if that is the case.? You WILL be missed! - Victor Long

Answer: Yes Victor, I'm done after the World Cup. It's been a marvellous journey (read all about it in my book later this year) and I'll be sad to hang up my boots, but I'll stay involved in rugby (and some interesting other ventures). I will also be spending much more time with my lovely wife Monja and our two daughters, Jaime and Giselle. Thanks for the kind words!

Your Question: Thanks for visiting my son last year in hospital. Appreciate!! What's your opinion on John Smit as a player? What's your opinion on John Smit as a leader? Regards. - Morne Kemp

Answer: Hi Morne, sure thing. I think John is one of the greatest Springboks ever, as a player and a leader. He's been a team mate for a decade and is one of my best friends. I have nothing but respect for John.

Your Question: Hi Victor. the last two weeks Springbok rugby was dissappointing to say the least. Are the boys going to be able to improve in form by the time the World Cup starts? - James

Answer: Correct James, it was disappointing, but we're ready to get back on track and we'll be ready when we get to New Zealand, of that I can assure you.

Your Question: Hi Victor Wat dink jy die bokke moet verander,om by te hou met die spoed spel van die aussies en kiwis? - Gregory Hoedemaker

Answer: Hi Gregory, nee, ek dink nie so nie. Ons spelpatroon is gevestig en as ons uitvoering reg is, kan ons enige iemand troef.

(For our English readers, Gregory asked if the Boks needed to adapt to the speed of the Aussies and the Kiwis, but Victor said it's not necessary as their game plan is very good as long as the application thereof is good.)

Your Question: Victor Is the Bok team hungry enough to win the World Cup? Thanks Ken Kinsey-Quick

Answer: In one word Ken - YES!

Your Question: Bayete! After watching the Stormers Crusaders & AB Bokke games, it is becoming clear that the single most important factor for success at the WC would be a ref that will allow a fair contest within the rules @ breakdowns & not allow AB obstruction there.Your view? - Pieter Oosthuizen

Answer: I agree Pieter, but we can't afford to lose sight of the fact that we still have to play and adapt to what the referees do on the field.

Your Question: Wat het geword van daardie spesiale spark wat die BULLS altyd op die veld het? STERKTE vir die res van die seisoen! - Bernice Hattingh

Answer: Dit was 'n moeilike seisoen Bernice, dinge wou net nie uitwerk nie en ons het seker een of twee wedstryde te veel verloor. Die spark was daar, glo my, maar ons planne wou nie altyd reg uitwerk nie. Sulke goed gebeur.

(For our English readers, Bernice wanted to know where was the Bulls' spark this season. Victor said it was there, but they probably lost two games too many and their plans didn't always work out.)

Your Question: In RWC 2007, were all the Boks in the 30 man squad utilised during the world cup ? If so, did they all receive medals ? My recollectiion is that that Gary Botha did not appear on the park at all during RWC 2007. He was possibly therefore the only Bok not to receive a medal. Was this true? - Richard van Schalkwyk

Answer: Hi Richard - Gary did play and he has the medal. He started the match against Tonga.

Your Question: Waarom word daar nie groter nommers van Springbokklerasie gemaak nie ? Wat van tot 5X. Ek dink daar sal 'n groot aanvraag wees. - Derek von Zeuner

Answer: Ek weet nie Derek, maar manne soos Bakkies en Danie dra groot truie, so daar moet erens wees. Het jy al probeer by

(Derek wanted to know why he can't get big sizes of supporters wear. Victor doesn't know much about this topic, but said guys like Bakkies and Danie don't wear small jerseys, so he's sure there will be some around.)

Your Question: As a professional rugby player. Will you stand down for the benefit of the team if there is a better player in your position? - Ettiene Jacobs

Answer: The team gets picked by the coach Ettiene, and if he wants me there, I will give him 100%. If I think I don't have anything to offer, I'll retire, which I'm planning to do at the end of the year.

Your Question: Who selects the teams for each game and who decides who plays in what position and what the combinations are going to be?? Is there someone who has a final say? Thanks - Lana Badenhorst

Answer: Hi Lana - the coach does, with input from senior players. But the coach has the final say.

Your Question: Hi Vic There were 21 of the guys that stayed behind during the away leg of the TN. Don't you think that you guys should start the two remaining games just to get some match practice before the WC? I mean when last did the Bulls, Sharks, Lion and Cheeta players in that 21 man squad been on the field to play. The Stormers guys played the final of the S15, so they atleast had some game time. - Daniel James

Answer: Daniel, most of those players that stayed behind to do rehab, will feature in the home leg of the Tri-Nations. We've got enough time to be ready for RWC.

Your Question: Hi Victor, my question is simple. Weather we retain the title or not this WorldCup Tournament, what would be South Africa's footprint on international rugby, what makes Springbok rugby's DNA(so to speak) superior to the rest? We're already proud of the team, now Go take the cup, its Yours. God bless & Thanks Vic. - Pieter Swanepoel

Answer: Rugby is in our blood Pieter, like other nations too, I suppose, but the knowledge that we can make a real difference to the lives of our fellow South Africans is something that really drives me. Thanks for the kind words, we're going to do our best to bring back the Webb Ellis Cup.

Your Question: Victor dankie vir julle ouens om weer stabiliteit terug te bring na die bokke en ook wat dink jy is ons kans by die wereldbeker, ek dink baie goed en daar is 'n plan iewers wat julle ouens in 'n goeie posisie gaan stel. Sterkte vir jul voorbereiding! - Eugene

Answer: Ek stem saam Eugene, ons kans is baie goed. Ons moet net seker maak ons doen alles reg soos ons beplan het. Dit gaan taai wees, want Wereldbekers is altyd taai, maar ons vertrou ons kan dit doen.

(Eugene asked what Victor thinks their chances at RWC are like and he said very good, as long as their plans fall into place, but it will not be easy, as World Cups are never easy.)

Your Question: It's clear by watching the Wallabies and All Blacks that they're coached to play the attacking and counter attacking running style of rugby we now see in the Super 15. The Springboks still play the territorial kicking game that's from a bygone era. Can we expect a change to the attacking-style game in time for the World Cup? - Glenn

Answer: Who says it's from a bygone era Glenn? We play to our strenghts and will not take unnecessary risks. Territory is vital and from there we can attack.

Your Question: You have obviously taken a lot of criticism lately. My question is why our Springboks are not so well prepared as the NZ & Aussie teams, who have also competed in the Super series? NZ, particularly, has an exceptional game plan using speed, support back-up and quick passing which the Springboks are not emulating. Why? - Anna Forbes

Answer: We're just as well prepared as they are Anna, and sometimes perhaps even better? See my answer above to Glenn for more information.

Your Question: could i be player 23 for the bulls?? with a surname like Loftus?? i know a fair amount about the game and the vodacom bulls and blue bulls :) another question, what happened to the puma jeresys for currie cup??? - Joshua Loftus

Answer: Hehe, good idea Joshua. On the Puma jerseys, I honestly don't know! Quite interesting.

Your Question: Hi Vic Do you think the boks got the will to win the world cup, at this moment i do not see the killer instinc to much induvidle players? - Neville

Answer: Hi Neville, yes we do. Check out our performances in the next two weeks and then decide about killer instinct and those things.

Your Question: bob 4rm polokwane, with the boks having the the big heavy banger up front, what do you think can be done for us to adapt to the new fast pace game. you go homeboy !!!!! - bob hartlief

Answer: Hi Bob - we've got the game to do the job, check my earlier answers. Groete aan Polokwane!

Your Question: How are the boys feeling leading up to the world cup and what do you think our chances are? - Dean Bonaconsa

Answer: We're feeling good and positive and can't wait to get to NZ. Our chances are good and we're ready, but like I said, World Cups are never easy - just ask the All Blacks!

Your Question: why don't our coaches chang the game plan and defence strategy as it seems the other nations are ahead of us as they break our defence and play running rugby and we persist with kick and stampkar rugby I think it is time to look at this and do the important changes. - Nico

Answer: We've got a new defensive consultant in (Jacques Nienaber from the Stormers) and we'll be good in this department. Check my answers higher up on our gameplan, we're doing what works for us and cutting down risk. We'll stick to that, with a few surprises thrown in here and there!

Your Question: I noticed this year with a weaker Bulls squad you battled to interact with the referees when things went wrong. Do you find the hardest part of captaining is tolerating referees? - Brendan

Answer: I will confess that I got frustrated with some decisions, but it's something I've worked hard at Brendan. Captaining is really not that hard, especially when you're surrounded by good senior players. Sometimes it's tough to understand some decisions though.