Matfield to Springboks: ‘Don’t play like robots’

Date published: November 2 2016

Springbok legend Victor Matfield says South Africa shouldn’t be “pre-programmed” when they face the Barbarians at Wembley on Saturday.

South Africa’s coach, Allister Coetzee, has already said their main objective won’t be to entertain the crowd by playing atttractive rugby, but Matfield believes the players shouldn’t be “pre-programmed”.

“The days where players kicked the ball in certain areas of the field and ran in others is over,” Matfield told Netwerk24.

“You should not just kick the ball away for the sake of kicking. If you give a little kick over the defence your goal should be to win the ball back. Your goal should be to try and create chances on attack.

“The game against the Barbarians is a good opportunity to get some confidence for the Test against England. We must play like we want to play in the Tests. The Barbarians will likely play high risk rugby so there should be opportunities to hit them on the counter attack because they will make mistakes.”

Matfield believes a conservative game plan, where the Boks try and win with little to no possession, won’t work.

“New Zealand recently beat Australia with less possession. It’s about the kind of possession you have and how you use it.”

One aspect of the game which the former lock would like to see used by the Boks, is the driving maul.

“I haven’t seen South Africa use the driving maul yet this season,” Matfield said. “It’s a good way to create chances. If the opposition must send most of their forwards to try and stop the maul, it creates a vacuum which can be exploited by the backline players.”

Whichever game the Boks decide to play, it’s important that they front up for the physical challenge.

“We haven’t lost to England in the last 10 years and in 80% of those the victories were down to us dominating them physically,” Matfield added.

“New Zealand dominate physically and defend better than they have in the past. They also use the rolling maul aganst every opponent.”

The Barbarians squad to face the Springboks is: Ruan Ackermann, Clayton Blommetjies, Sam Carter, Robert du Preez, Andy Ellis, Matt Faddes, Michael Fatialofa, Reggie Goodes, Richard Mo’unga, Luke Morahan, Martin Muller, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Melani Nanai, Ruan Pienaar, Andrew Ready, Paddy Ryan, Brad Shields, Toby Smith, Kwagga Smith, Nic Stirzaker, Seta Tamanivalu, Jordan Taufua, Dan Tuohy, Akker van der Merwe, Schalk van der Merwe, Luke Whitelock