Matfield: Euro tour key for RWC

2014-10-23 14:04
Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Stellenbosch - Springbok lock Victor Matfield says the tour to Europe will form a vital part of their Rugby World Cup preparations.

The Springboks will face Ireland (November 8), England (November 15), Italy (November 22) and Wales (November 29) during their end-of-year tour to Europe next month.

With the World Cup being played in England next year, this tour will give the Springboks plenty of insight ahead of the global showpiece, especially against the Home Nations, who will fancy their chances of winning the title.

Matfield targeted the Ireland and England Tests as the team's biggest challenges.

"It's been a good two weeks of preparation ahead of the tour, and we've been working hard on our fitness and conditioning," Matfield told MyPlayers.co.za.

"Like (coach) Heyneke Meyer has told us, this is the first time we are able to head into a Northern Hemisphere tour this fresh. It's no longer seen as an end-of-year-tour, but a fresh European Tour, so there's no excuses.

"Ireland will be a huge game as they're the Six Nations champions. They've been doing very well this year. If you look at all the stats, they're right up there with New Zealand and South Africa. England also did very well against the All Blacks in New Zealand, so they will be tough at home next month."

Matfield added that they will need to adapt to the European conditions.

"The conditions will be very different to what we experience in the Southern Hemisphere. With this new style of play and attacking mindset, we need to adapt and make the right decisions to play the right rugby to win the game."

The Springboks have never lost a game during the European Tour under Heyneke Meyer's reign. Matfield credits the head coach's demand for top performances and consistency for their success up north.

"You have to give credit to Heyneke Meyer and the management team, there is a strong culture here and the standards are very high," explained Matfield. "In the past, perhaps we didn’t maintain the intensity, and lost games we shouldn’t have. But Heyneke won’t allow the standards to drop.

"We’ve won all of our matches on the two previous tours, and want to maintain our perfect record as we head into a World Cup year. That will give us a lot of confidence as our goal is to win the title."

For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za

Read more on:    springboks  |  victor matfield  |  heyneke meyer  |  rugby

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