Yellow-carded Boks to pay up
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Brisbane – Springbok vice captain, Victor Matfield, says any South African player who is yellow carded in Saturday’s Tri-Nations encounter against Australia will have to pay part of his match fees to the rest of the team.
In both defeats against the All Blacks, the Springboks gave away yellow cards early in the games, which swung the momentum in the favour of the Kiwis.
“You can play hard rugby, but it needs to be within the laws,” Matfield said at the team hotel on Thursday.
“We cannot afford to give away yellow cards. I think our discipline has been good. In our first game we only gave way about five or six penalties and nine in the second.
“But we have also done stupid things that are completely out of our character. It is extremely difficult to stop New Zealand when they get momentum early in a game,” he said.
“You can only beat the Kiwis by putting them under pressure from the first minute. In both games the two yellow cards gave the All Blacks a lot of impetus early in the game. That made it tough for us.”
Matfield said the Boks worked very hard on improving their technique at the breakdowns and sharpening up on their defence during the week.
“It’s all about getting the small things right, getting field position and putting pressure on the opposition. This is something that we are not doing at the moment,” he explained.
The Bulls lock also believes not having an out and out fetcher like Australia’s David Pocock will not negatively affect the Boks’ performance at the breakdowns.
“Schalk (Burger) has been our open side flanker for the past six years. He knows exactly what he needs to go out and do. He has always been good in that position in the past and we are happy having him fulfilling that role again,” he said.
Matfield says that mathematically there is still a chance to win the Tri-Nations even if the Boks lose against the Wallabies on Saturday. But they regard a win as non negotiable.
“We need to not look past this weekend. This is the weekend that we need to put in everything to get our confidence and the belief in ourselves back to show everyone that we can play this game,” he added.