Victor Matfield has broken his role model’s record by playing in his 73rd rugby Test match here on Saturday.
Hennie Brandt writes in Beeld that when the South African acting captain led his team to their 58-8 Tri-Nations victory over Australia, he overtook Mark Andrews as the most-capped South African lock forward.
“It’s unbelievable to break a record held by someone like Mark. He was my role model,” Matfield said, adding, “I hope to add a few more Test matches.”
He praised coach Peter de Villiers and the selectors for standing by the players when things were not going well.
“They could easily have made changes after the previous two weeks.
Working hard at breakdown points
“We proved (against New Zealand and Australia) that we were able to create opportunities to score, but we just did not make use of them.
“But today (Saturday) we did. We hope we can build on this performance.”
Matfield, who had to take over the captaincy when John Smit was injured in New Zealand, revealed that the team had been working hard to be more effective at breakdown points and to stay on their feet longer.
“It gave us momentum and quick ball for talented guys such as Jongi Nokwe and others to score tries.”
Matfield believes the big victory was just what the team needed before their tour of the UK at the end of the year.
“Now the guys will believe again in what they do. The doubts have been removed.”
‘Better than the Wallabies’
Talking about the match at Coca-Cola Park, he said: “I told the guys during the break to forget about the scoreboard and to play the way they had done in the first half.
“When we scored our first try after half-time, we knew we were better than the Wallabies.”
Matfield and the others Springboks, with the exception of the injured Nokwe, now return to Currie Cup rugby.
South Africa play Wales, Scotland and England on successive Saturdays in November in Test matches that will be invaluable in the preparations for next year’s Test series against the British and Irish Lions.Tweet