Disruptions haven’t affected us – Victor Matfield

2014-06-13 14:50

Stand-in Springbok captain Victor Matfield insists that off-field distractions this past week have had little effect on the players’ preparations for the opening test of the season against Wales in Durban tomorrow.

Centre Frans Steyn surprised everyone in the South Africa camp on Tuesday when he withdrew for undisclosed reasons.

Coach Heyneke Meyer, who admitted earlier in the week that it had been arguably the toughest 10 days in the job, has also been beset by injuries, the latest being the withdrawal of Juan de Jongh.

“We don’t really worry about it. We’ve kept our focus on the game,” Matfield said in Umhlanga today.

“A guy like Jan Serfontein is getting a chance and a few others have also come in.

“Whoever gets their chance, it’s great for them. We’re just looking ahead to the game.”

Cheetahs winger Cornal Hendricks will make his debut for South Africa after playing in the unofficial test against the World XV last week.

Meyer made three changes in total following that 47-13 victory in Cape Town, with prop Gurthro Steenkamp, in his 50th test, scrum half Fourie du Preez and centre Jan Serfontein coming in.

They replaced Tendai Mtawarira and Ruan Pienaar, both on the bench, as well as Steyn.

Wales have never beaten the Springboks on South African soil and have only ever gotten the better of them once in 27 meetings.

“It’s a proud record that we’ve got against them,” saidMatfield, who will win a record-equalling 111th cap to tie with John Smit.

“We would like to keep it that way.”

The veteran lock warned, however, of two dangerous aspects of the Welsh game.

“Off defence they come hard off the line,” he said. “That makes it difficult to attack against. We’ve worked on a few things to try to overcome that.

“Then they’re also very good at phase play when the ball is in the right area of the field. We can’t allow that and hopefully the guys that effect turnovers will have a good game.”

Wales coach Warren Gatland, without several first-choice players through injury, named Gareth Davies and Matthew Morgan as the two uncapped players in his 23, both on the bench.

Adam Jones will win his 100th test cap in the front row, while George North, named on the wing, faces a late fitness test after he missed training for the bulk of the week owing to illness.

Despite stars like Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny missing, New Zealander Gatland insists they can beat the Boks.

“We are not here to make up the numbers. We are here to build, get some confidence and hopefully to win the series.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.