Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
14 Jun 2014
3:00 pm

SA sidestep injuries

Rudolph Jacobs

They simply have to put all the injury setbacks to the back of their minds and focus on the real threat of a dangerous Welsh side today, cautioned Springbok captain Victor Matfield yesterday.

FILE PICTURE: Victor Matfield Picture: Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images.

The Boks also called up two more centres to their wider squad in Paul Jordaan and veteran Wynand Olivier to replace the departed Juan de Jongh (sickness) and Frans Steyn (released).

There is also the added pressure on wing Cornal Hendricks in his first Test, centre Jan Serfontein in his first start and lock Lood de Jager, who could earn his debut from the bench.

“I think it was probably more tough on Heyneke (Meyer, coach) as we as players were just focusing on the Test and whoever gets picked must simply go out and do the job,” said Matfield yesterday.

“It is at the same time a great opportunity for the new guys coming in and especially for Jan, Cornal and Lood,” said Matfield.

With experienced British and Irish Lions in the Welsh side like captain and lock Alun Wyn-Jones, centres Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies, scrumhalf Mike Phillips and veteran props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, the Boks could have a game on their hands.

“There are two areas we will have to focus on – firstly they come out on defence hard on the line,” he said.

“And secondly when they play in the right areas they could keep possession for long periods, so we’ll have to be on the alert for turnover ball.”

There will be special moments for prop Gurthro Steenkamp in his 50th Test and for Matfield who will equal John Smit’s Test record of 111 caps.

“I’m really happy for Gurthro who I played with at the Bulls for a lot of years,” he said.

“For myself, I am really proud of the record, but that’s not the focus. We will be out to start our Test season on a high and that’s the prime focus.”

Kick-off is at 5pm.