Fully fit Bok squad for quarter-final

Date published: October 11 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Victor_Matfield_Samoa_South_Africa1

South Africa are expecting to have a full squad to choose from ahead of Saturday's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Wales.

"We have had a bit of time to recover and get through the bumps and bruises of Wednesday's game (against USA)," said doctor Craig Roberts.

"Thankfully we didn’t pick up any significant injuries. There are two guys we need to make a call on for the weekend.

"Victor (Matfield), who's doing really well coming back from that hamstring strain. At this stage it's looking good. The other one is JP (Pietersen) who jarred his knee. 

"That's settled really nicely and he should be available for the weekend but he has to get through a couple of training sessions first before we can clear him. So effectively everyone is available for selection, which is great news.

"I do sympathise with [Wales]. They have had a lot of injuries; they have become thin in certain areas but every team’s had injuries; we’ve got guys back home, so that’s the reality of rugby."

Matfield said he felt confident he would be fit for the weekend. 

"I must say I was a bit frustrated last week with the hamstring. It (the recovery) was a bit slow and I thought it would be better," he said. 

"But running yesterday and today, it felt pretty good so I think I’m positive for the weekend."

The veteran lock was impressed by Australia's win over Wales to top Pool A. 

"A good game, again a very close game. When Australia were down to 13 men, if Wales had scored there they could have won the game. We've said it before at this World Cup and we see it every weekend. Any team can beat any team on the day so the next stage is going to be very interesting," he said.

"It's very important for ourselves to keep that pressure on us. We have seen we play really well under pressure, so we need to keep that same mindset, that same focus."

Matfield praised the Springboks' two outstanding young locks, Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager.

"They have played very well the whole year and Heyneke (Meyer, the coach) is very lucky to have both of them and Pieter-Steph du Toit, who played very well as well when he came on," said Matfield.

"It’s up to the coach to decide. I have said before I'm very happy, it doesn't matter what role it is, as long as I can contribute to this team winning the World Cup. Whether it's from the bench to being in the squad, helping them with organising the lineout, it doesn’t matter as long as the team comes first."

"I have been impressed by their performances. We know what Eben can do and I think Lood has been outstanding. He gets around the park, his lineout calling has been good, very impressive."

"It's always easy to say you’ll almost do any role but as a player you want to be on the pitch. So hopefully I can get back on the pitch this Saturday and hopefully I’ll make the side as well.

"Wales is a very good team. We have heard it the last six years; we’ve been here that they know how to beat us so they are very confident when they play us. They had a good victory over us last year but when you look at the two teams, it will be a very different (South African) team going out there on Saturday.

"It's the quarter-finals; it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be tight, it's going to be a pressure game. So it's going to be on the day who makes the right decisions and who takes their chances."

COMMENTS