Victor Matfield believes Australia will provide a sterner tactical Test and won’t be as naive as the All Blacks.
The Wallabies have stressed how they won’t ignore the confrontations as the All Blacks did on the past couple of weekends, and Matfield reinforced that the Aussies won’t attempt to run from deep. In Matt Giteau, Berrick Barnes, Stirling Mortlock and Adam Ashley-Cooper they have a quartet of accomplished left- and right-footed kickers, and Matfield expects them to be utilised, no matter the conditions at Newlands on Saturday.
‘The All Blacks played into our hands with all the running they did from deep,’ said Matfield. ‘Australia won’t make the same mistakes. Giteau is a great tactical kicker and once they’re in the right position they like to build the phases.’
The Australians won’t steer clear of the lineouts as the All Blacks did, while the Bok vice-captain said they would hope to use the maul more than they did in Durban. Alain Rolland will be in charge, as he was in Bloemfontein, and Matfield said this would be advantageous to the Boks.
‘Nathan Sharpe has been running their lineouts for a while now and they’ll be a tougher challenge than the All Blacks. They also stole quite a bit of ball against them.
‘Last week we couldn’t use the maul as much, and that was down to how the laws were applied. We couldn’t get it set and there was a lot of pulling it down. Hopefully with the same ref as the first Test [Rolland], we can use it more as a weapon,’ said Matfield.
The Wallabies would have had a three-weak break since their last Test when they run out on Saturday. The Bok lock doesn’t think this will favour either side.
‘Against the All Blacks, the little things cost them, while we know how tough it is in New Zealand. They were just off in that game, and they think they can win this weekend.
‘You could say the break leaves them under-cooked, or you could say we are over-played. The past two weeks won’t have an impact and the only thing that matters is the 80 minutes on Saturday.’
By Grant Ball, in Cape Town