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Victor Matfield expected to return to South African rugby

Victor Matfield will return to top-level rugby in this year's Super Rugby and make himself available again for the Springboks, it is being widely reported in South Africa.

Numerous reports say the 2007 World Cup-winning lock, who has played 110 tests for South Africa, will end his two-year retirement to again represent the Pretoria-based Bulls in Super Rugby from next month. He will be 37 in May.

Neither the Bulls nor the South African Rugby Union are commenting on a possible return for the 36-year-old Matfield but he has been photographed training with the Bulls playing squad at a preseason camp, strengthening speculation over his comeback. He is a member of the Bulls coaching staff.

While Matfield's ability as one of the best lineout forwards to play was still undisputed when he retired at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, he is risking diminishing his legacy as a great if he's unable to match those towering standards when he returns to the highest levels of the physically demanding sport after a long absence.

"If (Victor) can play as he has in the past, it will be good news for South African rugby, but at his age it just gets harder and harder to compete at the same level," former South Africa lock Mark Andrews, a 1995 World Cup winner, told reporters. "And the 2015 Rugby World Cup is a long way away."


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