Matfield expects big Wallaby threat
August 6, 2009
Victor Matfield ruled the lineout against the All Blacks © Getty Images
Springbok lock Victor Matfield is taking nothing for granted as he prepares to face Australia in Cape Town on Saturday.
Following back-to-back wins over the All Blacks, South Africa will be out to take a stranglehold on the Tri-Nations with victory in their final home game of the tournament.
Matfield will take to the field with his second-row partner Bakkies Botha for the 50th time in Tests, and is not going to let his concentration slip against a Wallaby side with plenty to prove.
Robbie Deans' Australia lost their only game thus far to New Zealand in Auckland, letting slip an early lead to lose 22-16.
"Against the All Blacks, it was the little things that cost them and we all know how tough it is in New Zealand," he said. "They were just off in that game, and they think they can win this weekend. You could say the break leaves them under-cooked, or you could say we are over-played. The past two weeks won't have an impact and the only thing that matters is the 80 minutes on Saturday."
Matfield and Botha had free-reign against the All Black lineout, with hooker Andrew Hore and lineout caller Isaac Ross both struggling at the set-piece. Matfield is expecting a tougher challenge against the experienced Nathan Sharpe and Queensland Reds skipper James Horwill.
"Nathan Sharpe has been running their line-outs for a while now and they'll definitely be a bigger challenge than the All Blacks," he said. "They also stole quite a bit of ball against them on their own ball and the All Blacks' ball. It was tough that they lost, but the little things cost you games.
"In any of these Tri-Nations matches, any team can beat any other team. They played in New Zealand, and that's tough."
Matfield was full of praise for his second-row colleague Botha, with whom he has won every major honour in southern hemisphere rugby in the colours of the Bulls and South Africa.
"Being with Bakkies every day in the team environment has been special," he said. "He's a great guy to be around. We've done so many things together, World Cup, Currie Cup, Super 14 and Tri-Nations. We've got a job to do on Saturday. We have to deliver for the Boks in the same way we've been doing in the past."
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown