The evergreen Victor Matfield (centre), seen here in a Super Rugby match between the Bulls and the Brumbies in May, is ready to go again after 113 Tests. Photo: Getty Images
CAPE TOWN Victor Matfield has been declared fit to tour Australia and New Zealand with South Africa and boost a forward pack that struggled in both Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina.
Prop Frans Malherbe was ruled out with an ankle injury, however, robbing the Springboks front five of one of their options.
Malherbe fractured his ankle in the 33-31 win over Argentina in Salta on Saturday and is unlikely to play again this season.
Team of the 2014 Rugby Championship - Round Two
1. Marcos Ayerza (Argentina) Photo: Getty Images
The return of veteran Matfield is timely for South Africa, which was dominated in the scrums and unsettled in the lineouts by Argentina in narrow home and away wins.
The South African Rugby Union says flanker Willem Alberts will also rejoin the squad and have a fitness test on a hamstring problem ahead of the Australasia tour.
The Springboks fly to Australia on Saturday ahead of games against Australia on September 6 in Perth and New Zealand a week later in Wellington.
With 113 Test caps, Matfield's experience will be vital to South Africa after it made a stumbling start to the tournament and needed a 20-minute burst at the end of the second game against Argentina to overhaul a 28-16 deficit.
"It will be good to have them back," Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said of the impending return of Matfield and Alberts.
Second ranked South Africa was hoping to close the gap on the All Blacks this season ahead of a World Cup year in 2015, but produced stuttering performances in their first two championship matches while New Zealand dismantled Australia 51-20 on Saturday in Auckland.
Winger Bryan Habana is in line to play his 100th Test in Perth against Australia, the fourth South African to reach that milestone after Matfield, John Smit and Percy Montgomery.