Victor Matfield: Northampton Saints sign South Africa lock

Victor Matfield
Victor Matfield will be the oldest player at this year's Rugby World Cup

Northampton Saints have signed South Africa lock Victor Matfield on a one-year contract.

The 38-year-old is the all-time record caps holder for the Springboks, collecting 123 since his debut in 2001.

He is set to play in his fourth World Cup, having won the man-of-the-match award in the 2007 final when they beat England 15-6 in Paris.

"Victor is one of the outstanding forwards in world rugby," said Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

"We're very much looking forward to Victor joining up with the squad and believe he has a lot to offer the club, not only on the field, but also off it in terms of his leadership qualities and experience."

Matfield will be the oldest player in the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.

Most international caps
142: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)130: Ronan O'Gara (Ireland)
141: Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)126: Keven Mealamu (New Zealand)
139: George Gregan (Australia)123: Victor Matfield (South Africa)

Most of his club career appearances have been for the Bulls during three spells with the Super Rugby side, including a return to the Pretoria-based franchise following a two-year break from rugby between 2011 and 2013.

He had a spell in European rugby with Toulon in 2007-08, but has never before played in the Premiership.

"Seven years ago Saints very nearly became my rugby home and I feel privileged to be given another opportunity to join the club," Matfield told the club website.external-link

"I join Saints to make the best contribution I possibly can and I have a genuine desire to hopefully play an instrumental role in a team effort, with the aim of lifting silverware in both the Aviva Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup.

"For now I will focus only on the Springboks' campaign to win the Rugby World Cup, but I am very excited about the journey with Saints from November onwards."

South Africa's Bakkies Botha (L) and Victor Matfield celebrate
Matfield (right) with long-time second-row partner Bakkies Botha after winning the 2007 World Cup

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