Springbok second-row Victor Matfield cannot wait for the line-out battle with New Zealand to begin when the teams run out in Wellington.
Springbok second-row Victor Matfield cannot wait for the line-out battle with the All Blacks to commence when the teams run out at Westpac Stadium.
The veteran forward, who has locked horns with New Zealand on numerous occasions, believes their rivals have improved their set-piece of late.
“There was a time when their line-out didn't fire,” Matfield told sportal.co.nz ahead of the fixture.
“I think their line-out is probably the best to go up against at the moment.
“They probably analyse it and see it as a facet on its own now and have put time into it. They always come up with different things. They contest very well. I think they spend a lot more time on their lineout than what they did in earlier years.”
Matfield won't be up against Sam Whitelock on Saturday as the All Black is out injured, with his place alongside Brodie Retallick going to Jeremy Thrush. But while he believes Thrush is a strong player, the Springboks have also looked at a certain IRB World Player of the Year as a set-piece threat.
“A guy like Kieran Read makes a huge difference,” he added.
“He's making the calls and he's always been pretty good with the Crusaders as well.
“If Kieran Read wasn't there then it might have been a different (kettle of) fish.
“With him there they will still be very strong.”