South Africa v Wales: Victor Matfield eyes ‘perfect game’

South Africa v Wales: Victor Matfield declares Springboks will be looking for a “perfect game”

By Gareth Llewellyn

Victor Matfield has declared that South Africa will be looking for a “perfect game” in their second Test with Wales in Nelspruit on Saturday.

The 37-year-old lock, who will become the Springboks’ most-capped player when he leads out his colleagues at the Mbombela Stadium, issued the warning as Wales look to bounce back from an embarrassing 38-16 defeat last weekend in Durban.

The Welsh are a team that holds onto the ball for long periods once they have it. We don’t want to give them ball to play with

Victor Matfield

“What we are looking for is an 80-minute clinical performance,” said Matfield. “We need to go out there and build an innings, ensure that we get all our plays right—whether it be on attack or defence—and then we will be moving towards the perfect game.

“We had a look at last week’s game and, while it was a great win for us, we still made far too many mistakes.

“In the first half we came close to meeting the targets we set ourselves and we only conceded one penalty before half-time.

“However, in the second half we gave away too much ball through errors and, as I said before last week’s game, the Welsh are a team that holds onto the ball for long periods once they have it. We don’t want to give them ball to play with.”

Wales squandered chances early in the first half before South Africa went over for four tries with echoes of their 98-13 demolition of Wales in 1998.

Warren Gatland’s side were able to bolster their defence and offer more in attack after the break, helped in part by a raft of new faces from the bench, but Matfield insisted that the Springboks didn’t ease off.

“It wasn’t a case of us sitting back after building up that big lead,” he added. “We did want to score more tries, but sometimes we tried to force it too much.

“We have to have patience with ball in hand and go through the processes if we want to score tries. In the second half we got that wrong.

“That is a hard thing to achieve, but it is good to chase it. If we go out there and win the set-pieces, win the collisions and hold onto the ball, then the result should come.”

Wales have made just two changes to the team so easily overwhelmed by South Africa’s attacking prowess, but the ruthless Springboks are firmly set on showing them no mercy.

“The Welsh might be better this week, but that is not an issue for us,” Matfield said. “We don’t worry about the opposition. Our aim is for us to be better than we were last time out and to continue to improve.”

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