Victor Matfield is still valuable, but definitely not the player he was, says Sharks director of rugby Jake White.
White was speaking after his side lost 23-19 to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.
The 36-year-old Matfield, who captained the Bulls in the absence of Flip van der Merwe, was again instrumental in the lineouts, with the home side winning 14 out of 14 on their own throw and stealing three Sharks balls.
“He is not close to the Victor I coached. He was 30 years old back then,” White, a former Springbok coach, said.
“There is no doubt that he can still add value. He brings a calmness and knows the game. And he disrupted us in the lineouts.”
But White said it would be wrong to think that Matfield can again play like a 30-year-old.
“He was man-of-the-match in the World Cup final (in 2007). What he offers the team now is very different than when he was in his prime.”
The Bulls host the Chiefs in Pretoria this Saturday, while the Sharks square up to the Waratahs in Durban.