Victor Matfield turns 39 in a few months’ time, but he is still doing what he’s best at, dominating lineouts and showing off those silky skills that we’ve come to appreciate since he first played in South Africa’s Currie Cup way back in 1999.
Now, with a World Cup and many other accolades behind him, he is showing that the old dog still has many tricks, as he helped Northampton Saints to a 20-15 victory over table-topping Saracens.
While Saints are positioned fifth on the Aviva Premiership table, Matfield has said that since moving up north from the Bulls a few months back, he’s been impressed with the standard.
“There is no easy game in the Premiership which has been the one thing that has surprised me. I really thought that there were four or five teams that stood out above the other teams but every week is a competitive game and there is so many great players here that you don’t even know about,” he said recently.
The plan when moving to Saints was that he would not play every match, and while he got his first full 80 minutes a few weeks back, he has said that it has been an adjustment.
“My body has enjoyed not playing week in and week out but I’m used to playing regularly so I have found it tough to get momentum as often but hopefully I can still make a difference in a vital game.
“I hope to get some more game time in the next few weeks and get the momentum going,” he said, before sympathising with the northern hemisphere players.
“Playing through the winter has been tough. Training on these soft fields every day is not easy and the conditions doesn’t make it easy either.”
It’s not the first time we’ve ever seen a player win their lineout ball with one hand, but like Simon Shaw and Brad Thorn before him, it’s great to see this legend of the game still performing at such a high level, despite fast approaching 40.