Cape Town - Victor Matfield says the Lions should draw inspiration from the Springboks’ memorable win over the All Blacks in Dunedin in 2008 as they prepare for Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The Crusaders, who have won all 20 of their home playoff matches in the competition’s history, are heavy favourites at the bookmakers to win a ninth Super Rugby crown.
Many pundits feel likewise and even Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd, whose side lost 30-12 to the Crusaders in last week’s semi-finals, says the Crusaders are 20 points better than any team.
But Matfield, the legendary former Springbok lock, says the Lions should believe in themselves.
“If you have a good team and a good culture, then it’s easier to believe you can win overseas. Before that match in Dunedin in 2008, we believed,” Matfield told Netwerk24.
In 2008, the Springboks beat the All Blacks 30-28 after a brilliant individual try by scrumhalf Ricky Januarie. It was the Boks’ first win in New Zealand in 10 years and their first ever triumph over the All Blacks in Dunedin.
Matfield, who played a record 127 Tests for the Springboks, believes the Lions have shown an upward trend in recent weeks.
“They struggled earlier in the season, but their performances in the quarter-finals and semi-finals were outstanding. Their comeback effort against the Waratahs will give them confidence. It was brilliant to see how they remained calm (the Lions overturned a 14-0 deficit to win (44-26). It shows they believe,” Matfield added.
Lions coach Swys de Bruin is also not perturbed at the prospects of heading into the final as underdogs.
“Everyone can be beaten... anything can happen on the day. But the fact they are favourites is no lie. This group knows me well. We're very blessed to be here, it's an honour for us to be here and we focus rather on the job at hand and the opponents," De Bruin said after naming his team on Thursday.
Saturday’s final is scheduled for 09:35 (SA time).
David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11
George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt
Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott
Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
16 Sam Anderson-Heather, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke
Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon
15 Andries Coetzee, 14
Ruan Combrink, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan,
10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle
Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2
Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Corne
Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20
Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 23 Howard Mnisi