Rugby Championship

Scrum will be fixed - Matfield

2014-08-29 18:37
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - After the Springboks were taught a scrum lesson in their second 2014 Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Salta over the weekend, it was no surprise that this set-piece received a lot of attention this week.

Veteran Springbok lock Victor Matfield, who missed both opening Tests against the South Americans because of a knee injury, on Friday admitted the scrums were a source of concern.

"The set-piece is very important for us. We had a look at it and there is only one way to fix something and that is to do it on the training field," Matfield said ahead of the team's departure for the Australasian leg on Saturday.

"We've had a scrumming session yesterday (Thursday) and today and we'll probably be scrumming tomorrow (Saturday).

"The guys that were there were outstanding the whole of last year, so we know what they can do. It is just maybe just getting one or two technical things right."

In the opening match against Argentina in Pretoria, the Springboks battled in monsoon-like conditions, which made it difficult to gauge which areas South Africa needed to improve on.
The Springboks scraped through a 13-6 victory on home soil to set up an enticing return fixture in Argentina.

Argentina threw down the gauntlet in Salta and came within a whisker of scoring an upset over the Boks to eventually lose 33-21.

The clash placed the scrums under the magnifying glass as the home side again dominated the scrums.

Matfield said the team was disappointed with the performance against Los Pumas and determined to make amends against Australia in Perth on September 6.

"The team will be the first to say that we are not happy with the way that we played in Salta. We definitely want to go out there and perform better," Matfield said.

"We need to focus on Australia and what are our strengths. We need to go out there and almost control the pace, like we want it, when we want it."

After their 51-20 defeat to the All Blacks last weekend, Australia will be baying for some Springbok blood.

Matfield said it would be foolish to judge the Wallabies on their performance and believed they would be tricky opponents.

"The one thing people shouldn't forget is that it is the same team that drew against the mighty All Blacks two weeks ago on home turf," Matfield said.

"It is going to be a very competitive and tough game and with the Waratahs winning the Super Rugby they should be confident of where they stand.

"It is a game where little decisions make a big difference and we need to get the basics right. Our set-piece must work."

Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn, who sank a penalty three minutes from time against Argentina, on Friday said it was crucial for the Springboks to gain forward-pack dominance to give the backline front-foot ball.

"The first thing that we are going to change is the forwards are going to scrum better and go forward for us," Steyn said.

"That will make it a lot easier for me and the nine. When I came on in Salta the last 20 minutes we got more momentum and the scrums went a little bit better.

"As soon as the forwards give the backline front-foot ball it is easier for us."


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