Victor Matfield relishes chance to prove All Blacks are beatable

2014-09-12 08:48

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Wellington – A Springboks victory over New Zealand in the fourth round of the Rugby Championship would go a long way towards changing the mindset of both teams with next year’s World Cup fast approaching, according to lock Victor Matfield.

The All Blacks top the southern hemisphere competition table and are unbeaten in the tournament since it was expanded to four nations in 2012, winning 14 of 15 games with their only blemish a 12-12 draw against Australia in Sydney last month.

“They don’t get beaten often. They’ve got a great record, especially this team which has a very proud record and is a very good team,” Matfield told reporters today, a day before their clash at Wellington Regional Stadium.

“The more you can beat the All Blacks the better, because you might face them in a World Cup and we know they will go into the World Cup as favourites.

“There are a few of the guys who haven’t beaten them, so it would be great if we can get in their heads that they are not invincible.”

The Springboks have not tasted victory over the All Blacks since a month before the last World Cup when they won 18-5 in Port Elizabeth, their only victory since they beat them three times in a row in 2009 to last clinch the Tri-Nations title.

The 37-year-old Matfield felt the All Blacks had long learnt their lessons from that 2009 schooling.

The line-out was now as good as any other in the world, and they were also adept at disrupting their opponents’ ball, something Matfield put down to the influence of number eight Kieran Read.

“There was a time when their line-out didn’t fire. I think their line-out is probably the best to go up against at the moment,” Matfield said.

“I think they understand the line-out better. A guy like Kieran Read makes a huge difference. He’s making the calls.

“They probably analyse it and see it as a facet on its own and have put time into it. I think they spend a lot more time on their line-out than what they did in earlier years.”

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has made no secret of his desire to beat the All Blacks before the World Cup and made a surprise selection with attack-minded rookie Handrè Pollard given the nod at fly half, though Matfield said he was more than capable of adapting his game.

“With Handrè, everyone is talking about this attacking fly half and yes he can play that way,” he said.

“But he was part of that team that beat New Zealand (under 20s) here in the wet, in the rain. I think he is a guy who can play all conditions.

“It’s great to see a guy like that getting a chance against opposition like the All Blacks.”

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