The legendary lock is currently competing in his fourth Rugby World Cup with the Springboks, but is already looking forward to what he wants to achieve at Franklin’s Gardens.
“I am looking forward to the last seven months of my rugby career playing in a very good team,” he told The Guardian’s Donald McRae. “My body actually feels much better now than it did in 2011 but hopefully they will manage my game time well at Northampton. They’ve got Courtney Lawes there as well so I won’t have to play all the games. But I’m excited and it would be great to win at least one trophy with Northampton before I stop playing.”
But before then there is the small matter of getting out of a Rugby World Cup pool which was shaken up by Japan’s stunning win over South Africa in Brighton last Sunday.
Next up for the Springboks is Samoa, who themselves overcame the USA in their opening round, and Matfield is under no illusion as to the challenge that will be posed in Birmingham this coming weekend, adding: “It’s going to be brutal.
“Facing Samoa in 2011 was one of the hardest games I’ve played in the World Cup. So we know it’s going to be tough. They are very strong physically and all their players are professional now and playing right around the world. So they are in much better condition than 10 years ago. They are also going to have a lot of belief because of Japan’s result against us. But I feel ready – and I actually felt good about my own game on Saturday.”
Matfield is likely to come up against future clubmate Kahn Fotuali’i at Villa Park, who for his part said that Samoa needed to improve from their opening game against the Eagles.
“The Springboks will be a wounded beast, yes, that's for sure. Japan haven't made it easier for us and this won't be the last surprise of the tournament,” he said. “We knew this pool would be tough and we were a bit rusty out there. Yes, we'll have to be better than that against South Africa.”
Samoa and Japan go head-to-head at stadiummk on Saturday, October 3rd, one of three matches to be played in Milton Keynes during Rugby World Cup. For the latest news and information, including the full programme of entertainment in the official Fanzone and Festival of Rugby, head to www.loverugbymk.co.uk
There is still time to get your Season Ticket and get behind Matfield, Fotuali’i and the rest of the Saints’ Rugby World Cup stars when they return to Franklin’s Gardens at the end of the tournament. For full information about how you can join the cast of thousands head to www.northamptonsaints.co.uk/seasontickets