World Cup winning Victor Matfield moment that everyone forgot
The World Cup-winning Springbok side of 2007 will go down as one of the greatest teams ever assembled.
Their victorious campaign in France included many standout moments – Bryan Habana’s semi-final demolition of Argentina, their opening match destruction of England and of course, their unbreakable defence in the final.
One moment in that final that no one seems to talk about, is an act from their legendary lock Victor Matfield.
The Bulls man had formed a formidable second-row partnership with Bakkies Botha in what is now universally recognised as the greatest lock pairing of all time.
Matfield is a legend for both South Africa and the Blue Bulls
The final in 2007 against England had been a cagey affair.
The Springboks had held a slender six-point lead over the reigning champions at the start of the second half and were eager to reach their, ‘eight-point buffer’, that captain John Smit talks about in this video from World Rugby.
It was in the 41st minute that the decisive moment came.
Young England centre Mathew Tait gathered a loose pass just inside his half and managed to skip around the rush defence of Butch James and Frans Steyn.
He was away into acres of space managing to wrongfoot the covering Percy Montgomery at full-back.
The Leicester Tigers centre looked certain to score with the try line at his mercy – Victor Matfield was having none of it.
The 6ft 6in lock showed incredible speed and determination to sprint back and track the England back on his assault on the South African line.
Bryan Habana had raced across as the last line of defence but could do little to slow down the young centre just 5m short of the line.
We then see Matfield haul down Tait just inches short of the line just as he looked certain to score.
This was a World Cup-winning tackle.
If Matfield hadn’t of made that tackle then England would have likely took a 10-9 lead right at the start of the second-half handing them the momentum and a real shot at retaining their World Cup title.
This heroic act just shows why Victor Matfield is so revered in World Rugby.