British and Irish Lions
Matfield asks for more from Springboks
June 21, 2009
Victor Matfield demanding more from the Springboks next Saturday in Pretoria. © Getty Images
Victor Matfield has told the Springboks they must "focus more" and "work harder" in next Saturday's Second Test in Pretoria. The giant lock said South Africa were happy to win 26-21 in Durban but the World Cup holders could play much better.
Matfield, though, felt the Springboks had proved a point or two, especially up front through some powerful scrummaging and good line-out play. He explained: "We were under a lot of pressure in the media about the scrum, especially John Smit, but he stood up and showed he is going to be an anchor there for us for many years to come."
And Matfield also praised man-of-the-match Tendai Mtawarira. "He has been brilliant for us in the last year or so, with his scrummaging and all-round play. There had also been a lot of comments in the media about the lineouts, and we were pretty happy with how it went. We put them under pressure."
South Africa expect another difficult match next Saturday. "It's going to be tougher next week, definitely. We will have to focus more and work harder. The Lions scrummaged much better in the second half, and the penalties started to go against us in the scrums," Matfield said.
"We made silly mistakes, letting them into our half and giving them opportunities, but also they kept the ball very well and they put us under pressure. I think they will take a lot of confidence out of the second half, and the Lions will feel they can play much better as well next Saturday.
"The Lions weren't going to lie down and let us get a big victory. They fought back, and with seconds to go they were still in the game and could still have won it. That shows their character, and for us to play against them was a brilliant experience," the lock added.
South Africa were not helped by coach Peter de Villiers making seven substitutions during 17 second-half minutes, with the absence of Mtawarira, Smit and centre Jean de Villiers being keenly felt.
De Villiers said: "I thought we needed to inject some enthusiasm and speed into the game. It didn't happen that way. Maybe I made too much too soon."
Captain Smit said he expected the Lions to raise their game next Saturday. "The Lions won't lie down. They will come back twice as strong after that. Both teams are fighting - one to finish and one to survive - so the pressure will be twice as big."