Legendary South Africa lock Victor Matfield will retire as a Northampton Saint after he agreed to join the club on a one-year contract. The 38-year-old is the all-time record caps holder for the Springboks and has played 123 times since making his debut way back in 2001. Matfield’s experience will be crucial for the Saints, who will be looking to get their hands back on the Aviva Premiership trophy after their last success in the 2013-14 season.

Matfield is set to place in his fourth World Cup this autumn, with the competition getting underway on September 18th. This year’s hosts are England, who lost to South Africa in the final of the 2007 tournament and Matfield was named as Man of the Match. His experience will be useful for South Africa’s younger talents throughout the competition and the Springboks, who are 13/2 to win the tournament at, will stand a great chance if he can inspire the rest of the squad.


The South African star is a seasoned professional and has gained experience at a number of high-profile clubs throughout his illustrious career. The majority of his appearances have been for the Bulls, who are one of Super Rugby’s finest outfits. He has enjoyed three spells at the club, including a return to the Pretoria-based franchise after Matfield took a two year break from the sport between 2011 and 2013.

Furthermore, Matfield enjoyed a short spell at Toulon in the 2007-08 campaign and experienced a flavour for European rugby. Bizarrely, he has never featured in England’s Aviva Premiership though and may find the pace a little quick at times. There’s no doubt that he possesses the talent to flourish in the Premiership but he’s certainly not the player that he was five or ten years ago.

Matfield is the oldest player in this year’s Rugby World Cup but, at 38 years old, he has shown that dreams can come true with his latest career move. He was linked with a surprise switch to Northampton a number of years ago but a transfer failed to materialise. However, he will now join forces with fellow South African Pat Howard at Franklin’s Gardens and could play a crucial yet reduced role for the Saints throughout the season. Matfield’s plethora of experience alone was one of the main reasons why Northampton signed him and they will rely on him to lead by example both on and off the field.