Victor delighted Jean's fit

2010-11-05 14:41

Dublin - South Africa received a boost on Friday ahead of their Grand Slam tour opener against Ireland when Jean de Villiers was passed fit to take his place in the world champions' midfield.

Springbok captain Victor Matfield, speaking to reporters at Lansdowne Road on Friday, said the 63-time capped former Munster centre had "pulled through" following a groin problem and would start on Saturday. Kick-off is at 19:30 SA time.

"Jean's pulled through, he will be ready," Matfield, leading the injury-hit side in place of John Smit - one of 13 players ruled out of the tour - said.

"Willem Alberts didn't come through so Keegan Daniel will come into the 22," added Matfield of a side showing eight changes to the one beaten last time out by Australia.

Veteran lock Matfield said he was delighted to have someone of De Villiers's experience in wing Bryan Habana apart, an otherwise fledgling back division.

"It's great. He's our leader in the backline. It will be nice for me as well to have Jean there, making calls and keeping everything together. He's a quality player so it's great that he's fit."

Uncapped flyhalf Patrick Lambie, man-of-the-match for the Sharks in last week's South African domestic Currie Cup final win against Western Province, is on the bench.

The 20-year-old was in line to start in midfield if De Villiers had been ruled out.

South Africa, bidding to complete a first clean sweep of wins over the four 'Home Nations' on the one tour since 1960, only arrived in Dublin on Thursday and come into this match on the back of a dreadful Tri-Nations where they won just one of their six fixtures.

It looked as if they were struggling to adjust to the new law interpretations, which favour teams keeping ball in hand, but Matfield insisted the fundamentals of rugby had not changed.

"Rugby will always stay rugby," Matfield insisted. "It's all about accuracy, energy on the field and commitment. That's what it's all about.

"I think we all know with the new law interpretation we all know it's nice to keep the ball in hand, you can keep the ball for longer.

"So you need to adapt that as well, but everything else is still in the game," insisted Matfield, who will be reunited with Bakkies Botha against Ireland in one of the all-time great second row partnership after his fellow lock's return from suspension.

"You still need to be able to drive, your kicking game is still very important to get out of your half."

But he admitted trying to knit the side together in a short space of time following the Currie Cup final had been a tricky task.

"Some still want to celebrate, some of them are a bit down but, like I said, the moment you put on that Springbok jersey you need to be 100 percent focused for the job at hand. I believe the guys will be ready."

This weekend also sees South Africa trying to avoid a fourth straight defeat by Ireland in what will be the first international match staged at Lansdowne Road since the ground's 410 million euros total redevelopment and win in Dublin for the first time since 2000.

But Matfield said the Springboks were looking to use adversity to their advantage.

"We had a little chat this (Friday) morning about believing in ourselves. There's not a lot of people giving us a chance in this game, hopefully it will motivate the guys.

"It may not be the most experienced side but we still think we've got a lot of talent in this side."


  • Pierre - 2010-11-05 15:00

    Bok supporters, prepare yourselves for a big hiding... This "Bok" team is weak, very weak...

  • THE MAN - 2010-11-05 15:11

    ah come on this guy (matfield) is a match stick hahahahahaha look how skinny this guy is??? he looks more like a proteas "cricket team fast bowler than a proteas "rugby" team lock hahahahaha...sonny bill williams will knock this guys kop off his shoulders one time...go ALL BLACKS......

  • Mark - 2010-11-05 15:31

    Victor delighted Jean's fit. OK so what size Jeans fit Victor?

  • Joe - 2010-11-05 15:44

    Pity Lambie won't get to start..... De Villiers needs to rest, as does all the veteran players...

  • StuartW - 2010-11-05 15:44

    @ Pierre, the only weak point in the team is Zane....they will surprise you tomorrow....Go Bokke !!!!!!!!

  • Lionel - 2010-11-05 15:53

    For his sake i hope JdV is not being screwed over by p-divvy and co and being forced to play injured and ends up kissing his RWC dream goodbye again! If he is truly fit why does Kirchner even still have a spot in this team? It should be JdV and Lambie but such is life, now we can kiss this game goodbye.

  • Go Bokke - 2010-11-05 15:54

    Go Bokke this looks like a great squad, a bit worried about the defence in the midfield but the rest of the team looks excellent, i hope you guys make us proud we're all behind you!!

  • RV - 2010-11-05 15:55

    We all can breathe a lil bit easy

  • ian - 2010-11-05 16:00

    We are serously depleted of experienced palyers and have just not had enough time to practise together. I think that we will be very disjointed. So if we win thsi first test it will be amazing BUT it is a BIG ask.

  • Whistle - 2010-11-05 16:00

    I think we have some good combinations in the side that need to be tested ahead of the world cup. We also have a few guys who have to prove they can turn their average season around- bakkies, habanna ect. I am excited to see Juan Smith play again and see if Pienaar can use his chance... . It should be a great game from the time the ref blows his whistle!!

  • Bokfan4eva - 2010-11-05 16:01

    @Pierre....This team is more than capable of winning. Our scrums is going to be hard to beat and that means our backs will get quality ball. We have enoiugh brilliant individuals in the backline to run circles around Ireland. The weather is the only thing that might set us back.. Go Bokke !!

  • Raven - 2010-11-05 16:17

    Jean should be 13 and Lambie at 12.

  • STORMER - 2010-11-05 16:25

    Oh thank the oracles for small mercies......The relief in Vic's statement is palpable....

  • Nolte - 2010-11-05 16:25

    Pierre , Surely you are not a Bok Supporter ?

  • L - 2010-11-05 16:30


  • archie - 2010-11-05 16:36

    Moan, moan, moan, moan ,moan!!!!! Get behind the team or go watch something like days of our lives!

  • Jissie Man - 2010-11-05 16:40

    Not sure if Victor, the Bok coach and supporters have seen the footage of Jean de Villiers playing for Munster against Leinster and Brian O'Driscoll running circles around him on the way to the tryline in front of a jubilant crowd. Remember the Lions series too? Maybe Lambie is a better bet. Who is going to contain and run circles around O'Driscoll? Certainly not Jean.

  • Bokfan - 2010-11-05 17:11

    Go boys, make us proud and believe in yourselves - most of South Africa does.

  • Bokke - 2010-11-05 17:16

    Shut up Pierre.... Where is the faith

  • William Shakespeare - 2010-11-05 17:22

    Is it only me, or did I have to read that headline twice..?

  • Francois Bruce - 2010-11-05 18:47

    Love the byline - brilliant...........

  • christo - 2010-11-06 11:52

    victor is looking so hot in this pic..

  • SA_Patriot! - 2010-11-06 14:40

    boks, proteas and bafana for life!!!!

  • pages:
  • 1