Super Rugby effects are showing: Matfield

2011-10-03 11:26

Springbok lock Victor Matfield said today the effects of a prolonged Super Rugby competition had resulted in the southern hemisphere sides picking up more injuries at the World Cup than their counterparts in the north.

“We had a look at which teams have the injuries and it is quite a few of the Sanzar [South Africa, New Zealand, Australia] teams,” Matfield said.

“So it probably helped a little bit for the northern hemisphere teams to have had quite a bit of time off before the World Cup, but that is part of the tournament.

“Maybe we have more match time, maybe we are sharper, but on the other side you lose a bit because the guys are a bit tired from the long Super Rugby season.”

While the powerhouse teams in the south were still competing in the Tri Nations, in most cases the northern hemisphere sides had a two-month break before their respective campaigns started.

Matfield missed two pool matches at the global showpiece after picking up a hamstring injury in South Africa’s opening match against Wales.

Not that he was complaining, however, with most sides having to deal with injury concerns heading into the playoffs.

“You have to deal with it and you have to adapt,” Matfield said.

“That is the only way you will be successful at a World Cup.

“Hopefully I’m a bit fresher and hopefully I can give a little bit extra in the next few games.”

While Matfield was on the road to recovery – he returned to captain the Boks in their final pool match against Samoa last week – Danie Rossouw took over as the team’s lineout general.

Though he was pleased with how the Springboks had performed at set phases – they held their own in his absence – Matfield was also aware of the threats Australia would pose in this weekend’s quarterfinal in Wellington.

“I think we are very happy with where our set pieces are at the moment, but Australia’s lineout is very good,” he said.

“We don’t know who they are going to pick yet, but they have three or four locks who know how to run a lineout.”

The battle in the scrums, where the Boks had been particularly impressive, would, according to Matfield, also be tightly contested despite weaknesses the Wallabies had shown in their 15-6 loss to Ireland in the pool stages.

“At scrum time they were under pressure against Ireland, but when they played us [in the Tri Nations] they were pretty solid,” he said.

“So again the basics of rugby are very important and those are things we will really focus on this week.

“Hopefully we can put them under pressure in those areas.”

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