WCup: ‘SA in good position’

2011-06-02 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Springbok vice-captain Victor Matfield believes that form, injuries and an established playing pattern are ticks in favour of the Bok camp ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year.

“Look at the form of the top players. It’s a major plus that the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls are still in the running for Super Rugby playoffs,” he said.

Matfield believes that most of the players are hitting form and “the chances are good that at least one or even two of the teams will make it, but that it will be good if all three could”. (The Bulls and Sharks contested the Super 14 final in 2007).

The Boks are also in a good position as far as injuries are concerned.

“Look at the major injuries. At the moment it’s just Juan Smith that maybe won’t make it. The other guys all have less serious injuries. It’s probably also a positive as it is allowing them to get some rest,” said Matfield.

He also believes that it’s important to have an established playing style with which they are comfortable.

“We realised again after last year’s victory over England how we should play and what works for us. We have to be careful not to want to copy the styles of other teams. There is a way of playing that works for us. It’s a blueprint that was followed in 2007 and in 2009 we also played that way.”

South Africa beat the British and Irish Lions in a Test series in 2009, as well as winning the Tri-Nations.

“That is how one keeps believing in a style and ensures that the execution is first class.”

Matfield believes it’s a positive that there are still places up for grabs in the World Cup squad.

“I think Bok coach Peter De Villiers is very close to the 30. The players that he has used in the last four years will again be there, but there are maybe one or two positions where players showing good form in Super Rugby could play their way in.

“That is good because it gives everyone something to play for. The established core remains important.”

De Villiers has dismissed any suggestion that there could be political interference in the make-up of his squad for the World Cup.

“There is absolutely no pressure on me to pick a certain number of black players for the World Cup,” De Villiers said.

“If it were the case, then I’d have failed as a coach in the past three years. I don’t have any obligation to any player to guarantee them a place in the World Cup squad.”

The World Cup starts in 99 days time and De Villiers has urged the public to get behind the team.

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