Calling the shots

Victor Matfield is the most complete captain in South Africa.

In the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, we find out how Matfield’s leadership style has evolved over the years and what makes him such an outstanding captain for the Bulls today.

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‘I was a real stubborn bugger when I was in my early- to mid-20s. Hard-headed and unplayable at times,’ Matfield says in an honest self-appraisal of his formative years. ‘Even though I was a youngster in the teams I represented I would still want to have an influence on important decisions and I wanted things done my way. On the surface it seemed like I had everything under control, but inside I was unsure of myself. Now I see captains like that and I cringe because they are what I was and it’s ugly.’

Matfield goes on to reveal the things that have helped him to grow as a leader and what he learnt from iconic American football coach Vince Lombardi. Heyneke Meyer and Fourie du Preez also provide unique insight into Matfield’s captaincy style.

Also in the new issue:

– Bulls backline coach Pieter Rossouw on earning his players’ respect, Fourie du Preez’s dispensibility and adapting to the new law interpretations

– The Western Province Rugby Institute was established in 2007 in order to retain the union’s young players and help them to make the transition to senior level. SA Rugby magazine finds out what progress has been made

– Why Wandile Mjekevu has the potential to become a world-class wing

Bismarck du Plessis on the Sharks’ poor start to the Super 14, his alleged rift with John Smit, and why he wants to stay in Durban

Conrad Smith on the Hurricanes, next year’s World Cup in New Zealand, his ideal Bok midfield and life after rugby

– Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper may be a bad boy off the field, but he’s making a good impression on it

– The new law interpretations have forced Super 14 teams to change the way they play the game. Rassie Erasmus, Gary Gold, Robbie Kempson and Balie Swart explain why

– Discarded England flyhalf Danny Cipriani hopes to resurrect his career with Melbourne’s new franchise, but it won’t be easy

Francois Pienaar on the progress of the Varsity Cup, its future plans, Maties’ dominance and how the competition helps transformation

– Former Stormers lock Ross Skeate on his successful stint with Toulon, his enduring hope of a Springbok call-up and why the new law interpretations will never catch on up north

Jake White explains why the maul is an important part of the game and how to counter-act it