The Springboks should aim to beat Wales with a direct and confrontational style because that is what South Africa are accustomed to.
Liam Del Carme writes for Beeld that, that was the opinion on Tuesday of Bok lock Victor Matfield, who was responding to a question on what the team had learned from their last Tri-Nations victory over Australia.
South Africa take on Wales on Saturday on a field that is expected to be wet and high-risk rugby seems out of the question.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said last week his team would never play conservatively, but that is easier said than done. Matfield believes the team should stick to what works for them.
South Africa scored a runaway victory over the Wallabies in their last encounter, but it was made possible by a direct style that forced the Aussies on the back foot.
“I think we saw that we should play percentage rugby. We also played directly. I think it works for South Africa and that is how we play,” said Matfield.
“We also want to give our decision-makers more freedom. It is essential that they take the right decisions at the right times.”
Matfield has no doubt about what the Boks need to do.
‘Focus on what worked for us’
“The conditions here make things completely different. There are also a few changes to the team and a few months have passed since we last played,” said Matfield.
“It is, however, nice to take that confidence into the game. We can focus on what worked for us and what didn’t work for us. We can build on it.”
Matfield believes South Africa cannot afford to allow Wales’s confidence to grow during the game.
“It sounds like a cliché, but any game has to be dominated up front before you supply the outside backs with ammunition. We would like to dominate up front, but then our backs have to score a few good tries,” he said.
With Wales having undergone a transformation under Warren Gatland’s coaching, there is a healthy respect for the home side among the South Africans.
“The Welsh are very physical and carry the ball in contact. It’s going to be a tough match,” said Matfield.
With Ruan Pienaar at flyhalf, the Boks also have a player who can keep the Welsh on the back foot with his kicking out of hand. The choice of Fourie du Preez at scrumhalf also shows that the Boks are set to run the ball only inside Wales’s half.Tweet