Matfield demands more accuracy from Springboks

Victor Matfield runs on to the field for South Africa

Replacement captain Victor Matfield has called on his team mates to make improvement
across the board in their Rugby World Cup warm up match against Argentina in
Buenos Aires on Saturday.

South Africa went through the Rugby Championship without a victory and finished
last in the tournament but have one remaining match against the Pumas which
is not for competition points before the world cup.

Last week in Durban Argentina outplayed the Springboks and this week the Pumas
will have home advantage against a South African side that has lost it’s last
four Tests.

Regular captain Jean de Villiers broke his jaw in the match and is in doubt
for the start of the Rugby world Cup and this week Matfield steps in as captain
at Velez Sarsfield.

Matfield says that South Africa will have to be a lot more accurate in their
game if they are to win.

“Most of their players play in the tough European leagues where they
compete for everything and we saw last week that it will be a long day at the
office if we’re not accurate in our execution,” said Matfield.

“The Pumas deserve a lot of credit for that performance, but we’re
a proud team and we don’t like losing, especially at home, so we have
to make a big step up on Saturday.

“There were some hard words spoken this week because we let ourselves
and our country down, and we want to rectify that tomorrow [Saturday]. But we
know it will be very tough against a very good Argentinean team, and we need
to make sure we improve in all facets of the game, starting with the scrum and
breakdown battle.”

Matfield is one of three Springboks who played for South Africa against Argentina
the last time the two teams met at the same venue in Buenos Aires. The other
two are Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana, while Juan Martin Hernandez and
Juan-Manuel Leguizamon are the two Pumas from that match who are in action
again on Saturday. On that occasion, the Boks won 34-23, with both sides scoring
three tries a piece.

“It’s great to be back here and we like coming to Argentina,”
said Matfield.

“Ultimately though it’s not about me or any other individuals in
the team – we have to ensure that all the players contribute to the team
so that we can put in a good Springbok performance.

“Against Australia and New Zealand we did enough to win, but we didn’t
close out those games. We have to improve on that as well. But what we’ve
seen is that you have to be at 100% against any team in the top nine in the
world, because the margins are small and you can easily be beaten.”

Matfield also said the criticism of the team stung in a tough week for the
Boks.

“Mr Nelson Mandela once said that sport can unite a country and we certainly
want to make our country proud,” said Matfield.

“It was great to see the entire country behind the Boks when we won the
World Cup in 2007 and that is our aim again for this season. We accept full
responsibility for what happened on the field last weekend, but it’s just
a pity if the team is used by some as a political object to pull the country
down.

“Our goal is to unite the country behind us.”

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